Life’s a Tarantino Flick (our 1st Feature film) Deep in Post Production

This year we have been hard at work, shooting and completing our first ever feature length film with the aid of a creative works grant from the University, and under the mentorship of Dr. Teresa Meadows. The film is being worked on to finish up and meet our proposed completion date set in early of next year. In the meantime, we wanted to share some of the teasers and trailers with you all.

All the world’s a stage, and in the first feature film from Whatsabudget Films, we meet a handful of its deadly players. It seems like an ordinary day at the Globe Bar & Grille, but as these patrons are about discover, this day is anything but! With four chapters, each woven together in this postmodern tapestry, we see four separate trajectories and the lives of seven people come crashing together in this Tarantino-esque drama about life’s unexpected twists, being shaped by past traumas, and one of humanity’s oldest pursuits, vengeance. Continue reading

Level 6 (2017)

Some threats take the danger to a whole new level!

When a thief inadvertently releases a deadly parasite from its containment cell, a small group of Guardians, together with the unwitting, and often useless, assistance of the Zeta Squad are all that stands in the way of this devastating contagion from escaping into an already decimated populace. Welcome to 2044! **With strong language, violence, and brief nudity**

Directed by: Rob Bowen
Written by: Rob Bowen
Starring: Erica Erickson, Nicole Goeke, Brent Wilkerson, Jacob Hillman & Rob Bowen
Also Starring: Halston-Ashley Seeley, Cliff Cage, Billy Gaisford, Jareth Spirio, Angie Bowen, Desiree Myers, Mark Lutinski

Director’s Notes

Level 6 came about sort of by accident, and has become our longest shorts to date, and an instant favorite of my collection. Not only because of the amazingly beautiful and creepy location that sprawled across this large industrial park in Colorado Springs that we got to call home during the shoot, but because of all of the fun that we had putting the film together. But I digress, the accident. So I was contacted by one of the film’s stars and producers, Jacob Hillmann, who had previously worked with us on Rule 17, and again in a small cameo in our upcoming feature film, with the prospect of having a location I could use if I ever wanted to kill someone the way I did his character in Rule 17 (**Spoiler Alert**, lol). I was instantly intrigued as I had two short film scripts I had penned with the intentions of shooting them over the Summer as I put the finishing touches on the feature, so we arranged to meet and show me the location. Continue reading

New Millennial Tramp in “Is That My Wallet?” (2016)

In this silent, postmodern comedy, the New Millenial Tramp begins an adventure to recover his stolen wallet after a thief knocks him out and steals it from him.

Written & Directed by Rob Bowen
Assistant Director: Katie Hermanson
Starring: Rob Bowen & Katie Hermanson
Original Score by: Joseph Irvin

Awards/Recognition

- Was made for and won 1st Prize in the Judging & tied for Audience Choice’s Best Use of Genre/Prompt at Colorado Springs 14’ers Film Festival – December 2016

Director’s Notes

As my 20th short film, I am particularly proud of this one, but for so many other reasons beyond that, I swell with pride at this entry in my gallery of work. The 14’ers Film Festival was a brainchild of mine that I took to the Film Club as my last major act as the President in the fall of 2016. We decided it would play out very much in the vein of the 48hour Film Project, wherein a designated number of teams (a max of 14 in our case) would sign up and be given specific prompts and genre assignments for the (14 minute or less) short films they would then have 14 days to script, shoot, edit and otherwise complete. Having decided in the beginning, that I myself would not be participating in the festival, getting here was quite the feat and something of a complete turnaround. A turnaround that proved utterly successful. Continue reading

Rule 17 (2016)

The past can reshape us and break us in ways that will always determine who we become. Meet Faraday. A stickler for the rules and if you break them, she will make you pay.

Written & Directed by Rob Bowen
Assistant Director: Katie Hermanson
Starring: Sara Balakrishnan, Jareth Spirio, Nicole Goeke
Featuring: J Giordano & Mark Lutinski
With: Jacob Hillman & Tricia Timney
FX: Rob Bowen

Awards/Recognition

- Winner of Best Live Action Drama in 17th Annual UCCS Student Short Film Festival – May 2017

Director’s Notes

It has been said, that necessity is the mother of all invention. This latest short film helps to sell that argument here in the film world, as my driving need to create another film in 2016 gave rise to this new script and idea overall. Having had two other short films fall through as we tried to get them off the ground this year, I began looking at the remaining completed scripts I had and realized that none of them were speaking to me at that time. Those that had been promised to certain actors aside (because those were the ones that we had already attempted), I needed something potent and new that was going to grab my attention. That’s when I came up with Kendall and Anne, and another Whatsabudget love story was born. Continue reading

Bad Friends (2016)

Reggie’s day just turned into an absolute shitshow! With a little help from his friends, that is. Bad friends.

Written & Directed by: Rob Bowen
Assistant Directors: Josh Boehnke & Sara Balakrishnan
Starring: Nicole Goeke, Mark Cannon, Chad Myers & Rob Bowen
Featuring: Sara Balakrishnan, Chloe Carr & Charlie Moore
Makeup/FX: Matt Young

Awards/Recognition

- Winner of Best Live Action Comedy in 16th Annual UCCS Student Short Film Festival – May 2016

Director’s Notes

What has quickly become a favorite of mine, Bad Friends was an interesting project in many ways. After completing a short film for my Film Theory class which did not get a full release online, I was anxious to make another short, and had even hoped to get it made by the end of 2015. I knew I wanted to make a comedy, and after recently connecting with talented actor Nicole Goeke via the Peak Film Forum in Colorado Springs, I knew she was who I wanted to work with on the project. I selected a script and we began putting pieces together to try and knock it out at the end of the year (which at the time was fast approaching). When it became clear that 2015 was not going to happen, we rolled into the idea of having the film kick off the new year and be our first of 2016. Continue reading

Don’t Save (2015)

A writer is forced to face a question she’s been dodging for 20 years when she is confronted by her past. Can she find a way to move on from the moment that haunts her?

Directed by: Rob Bowen
Written by: Rob Bowen
Starring: Stephanie Schlis & Erica Erickson

epilogue – Thrift’s Heroine (music video)

Director’s Notes

This film is actually quite the personal one. This is probably evidenced by the dedication at the end of the short. On May 5th, 1995, Christina Sickler was killed in a car accident in Blytheville, Arkansas. She was my friend. Someone I loved. And the first person who would introduce me to loss of this nature. At the beginning of the school year, I was a junior in high school, Christina, a sophomore ended up in my Spanish class and we were assigned to the same group. We became fast friends. And before the school year was out, I would lose her forever.

Christina would be the first person I would lose that was of my own age group. The supposed indestructibility of the teenage years we ignorantly live with (if we are privileged enough to have this bubble of naivety undisturbed by the oft destructive nature of life itself into our teens), came crashing down around me in such a heartbreaking way. Continue reading

The Magician (2015)

A magician never reveals his secrets…

Directed by: Rob Bowen
Written by: Rob Bowen
Starring: Mark Lutinski and Chris Medina

Director’s Notes

‘The Magician’ was an extremely exciting project for a number of reasons. Not only was it our first Hitchcockian thriller, and our first short film of 2015, but it was also the first film I have worked with make-up effects! When an old friend I had been out of touch with for a couple of years reached out to me via Facebook mentioning he was doing make-up and prosthetics and wanted to work with me once again in our new lives and capacities, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. The new semester’s Film Studies classes had given me a lot of new insights into Hitchcock and the techniques he would use in his films (from the identity uncertain being draped in gray and overall meaningful use of wardrobe color choice, to the psychologically tense scoring instrumentation over music, even the MacGuffin itself) and so I wanted to work in the same waters and homage his masterful storytelling with a tense short film.

Enter ‘The Magician’. Continue reading

The Suitcase (2014)

Bo and Luke are a bit of a yin and yang. Luke sees the world through the idealist’s lens of endless wonder and possibility. Bo sees the world through the realist’s lens of cynical acceptance of the way the world actually is. Today, their perspectives collide in a comical way when a discarded suitcase appears during their hike. Find out what’s in the suitcase in Whatsabudget Films new short!

Directed by: Rob Bowen
Written by: Rob Bowen
Starring: Michelle Dawn Sharpe & Rob Bowen
With: Bunny Williams & TJ Peterson

Director’s Notes

This film was particularly meaningful for me, because it accomplished two major things. First, it got this film done after over two years of delays and recasts. Secondly, it was our sixth short film of 2014, a personal goal which I had set for myself during the year.

Initially, The Suitcase was written to be our fourth short film, back in 2012. However, due to the city doing some major road construction next to the spot I had scouted to shoot, it became postponed. A postponement that would inevitably set a trend that haunted this would-be Whatsabudget production. Continue reading

Lather Rinse Repeat (2014)

When it reigns, it pours! Inspired by David Foster Wallace’s The Water and my Women and Ethnic Studies classes.

Directed by: Rob Bowen
Written by: Rob Bowen
Starring: Erica Erickson, Desiree Myers, Michael Lee, Kacie Vance, Michelle Dawn Sharpe, and Mark Lutinski.
Original Score Composed by Adam Hooper

Awards/Recognition

- Recipient of 15th Annual Rosa Parks Scholarship from UCCS – Feb. 2015
- Winner of Best Live Action Comedy in 15th Annual UCCS Student Short Film Festival – May 2015

Director’s Notes

Lather was a project of particular passion for me. After reigniting my life’s social justice advocacy voice, I really had a desire to start melding my two loves and voices together as my studies in school are aimed at doing. However, where in school I am directing a large amount of focus to making documentary films, I really wanted to play with the idea of making a narrative film with these messages and concepts being presented and explored.

Much like I have sought to do with my podcast (nearly in its eighth year of living loudly on the virtual airwaves), I wanted to present the ideas and concepts through a lens of comedy to help soften them and allow for easier consumption. To help take some of the abrasive edge that wanted to permeate and explode through the messages and dialog of the film as I penned it. So the film, while it takes something of a humorous approach to doing so, is really a commentary and deconstruction of the patriarchal oppression that runs rampant through all facets of our society. Continue reading

What You Need – Music Video (Director’s Cut 2014)

Karen is keeping a secret from her son. One she has shared with Jayne, entrusting her and begging her to aid her in her request. This is something that Jayne will carry with her forever.

Song by: What’s Fair
Directed by: Rob Bowen
Written by: Rob Bowen
Starring: Erica Erickson & Leah Chandler-Mills
With: Kacie Vance & Micheal Lee

Director’s Notes

Years ago through my podcast, I managed to connect with the lead singer of an amazing band who was moved to pen a song inspired by the show. I loved their music and this was a big honor for me. So when I began making films, I reached out to the band and asked if I could feature one of their songs in what would then be my second short film. They not only gave me permission for that song alone, but they told me that I was free to use any song they had on their album for any project I wanted in the future too. I was floored by their generosity, and what I can only interpret as a huge act of faith and vote of confidence. I mean, they had no idea what I would end up making, but they trusted me to not misuse their work.

I was moved by their entrusting me with their art, and so I took the charge very seriously. Not only that, but I knew at some point, I would want to find a way to thank the band for this trust and show them how much their generosity meant to me. It was as summer approached in 2014 that I landed on just how I wanted to do that. So without telling the band what I had planned to do, I set out to find one of their tracks that I had yet to use, for which I could pen a moving short film to pair with it. It didn’t take me long to find that track. As I listened to the song, I began to see the pain my characters were experiencing. Continue reading