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

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

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

Tabula Rasa (2014)

In this new short from Whatsabudget Films we follow the story of Regan King and her older sister, Ril as they try to recover and pick up the pieces following a tragic accident that changed their lives forever.

Directed by: Rob Bowen
Written by: Rob Bowen
Starring: Kacie Vance & Michelle Dawn Sharpe

Director’s Notes

Tabula Rasa was a nice break from the kinds of stories I had been telling up to this point. Fresh off the heels of Soulmates, we began shooting on Lather Rinse Repeat until scheduling caused us to have to put that film on the proverbial back burner. Not wanting to be slowed from making my 2014 goal, and having just met Michelle and Kacie from their work we had done on Lather, I penned the piece for the two of them and they were on board immediately. We happened to all have a window of availability that lined up perfectly, and we were off!

Having just completed our first love story in Soulmates, I wanted to focus my pen on a vastly different kind of love story, but a tale of love nonetheless. Regan and Ril’s story certainly gave me that opportunity, as it unfolds a heartbreaking tale of commitment and stewardship in the wake of unrelenting difficulty and tragedy. Michelle perfectly embodied that exasperated and yet thoroughly dedicated older sibling that we find in Ril, and gave the character an edge that almost reads as indifference, but comes out in the end as a guarded sense of self-protection. Ril is afraid of letting herself be hopeful that things will work themselves out and change as her experience has forced her to accept otherwise. Continue reading

Soulmates (2014)

From Whatsabudget Films and Arbent Creative Media comes a story of a love so deep it can only be described as that shared between soulmates. As Carlyle tells the story of two such star-crossed lovers in this new short film, we follow the tale and see it unfold. This is the story of Julia and Monty.

Directed by: Rob Bowen
Written by: Rob Bowen
Starring: Mark Cannon, Erica Erickson, Dana Kjeldsen, Mark Lutinski

Director’s Notes

Soulmates was our first crack at a love story, but of course, I had to give the tale my usual dark streak. Playing on a Romeo & Juliet vibe, these star-crossed lovers were destined for heartache, but that still let us explore the depths and strength of their love for each other. This was quite the ambitious project, because at this time, it was the largest cast we had worked with, and the most involved script to sort out with more set changes and locations than previous scripts (with the possible exception of Beware the Masked One), so overall, getting this short shot in a single day, was challenging.

So when I laid out the shoot, I also broke it down by location and actors needed so that we could try and move the shoot along in a timely fashion, and be respectful of everyone’s schedule as possible. This meant starting the day with the two Marks at my apartment which had been transformed into a cafe for the morning. Continue reading

Seasons Change (2013)

An emotional look at one woman’s struggle with depression and the isolating cold that it brings to swallow her whole.

Directed by: Rob Bowen
Written by: Rob Bowen
Starring: Erica Erickson

You can also get the free digital download of Seasons Change here! Just click and download will begin. Then just unzip the file and enjoy!

Director’s Notes

Seasons Change was a very personal piece, and one that I only felt comfortable doing once I knew I had the right actor for it. This was the first short (and would not be the last) where I would work with Erica. I met her during auditions for a feature film project I will discuss later, but immediately knew that she was someone who I could give anything to and she would instill it with awesome! The piece was already powerful, in my mind, but to realize it and see it come to life via Erica’s performance, she really brought more to the film than I could have imagined.

There was so much heart in her delivery of the monologue, that what is heard in the film is the very first take of her going through it. I had even altered and extended the monologue a bit the day before the shoot, so it wasn’t even the version of the script she had previously worked with, but she absolutely nailed it first time in. There is a back-up second take of the monologue that has never seen the proverbial light of day, because it simply wasn’t needed. Continue reading

Catching Up (2012)

It’s been a while since Cody and Faith have seen one another, but this moment of catching up between old friends isn’t necessarily a joyous reunion. Both know what this reuniting will bring. One is ready to face it…one is not.

Every ending…is a new beginning

Directed by: Rob Bowen
Written by: Rob Bowen
Starring: Darleen M Daniels & Steve Austin

Director’s Notes

I absolutely love this film, and so feel like I have failed it completely. Given that this was only my second short film, I knew that there were still plenty of curves left for me to learn my way around, however, this one brought a powerful lesson home in the most painful of ways. While I had everything inline to make this film shine, the perfect pair of actors to give life to the layered characters in the piece, pitch perfect dialog and a slowly unfolding narrative steeped in tension and great reveals, even professional grade cameras to capture everything with, I had failed to consider and monitor the sound we were capturing with the cameras, to be able to keep that open-air hiss/hum out of the equation. Continue reading

Cashing Out (2012)

An unknown writer struggles to write the perfect piece…even if it kills him.

Directed by: Angie & Rob Bowen (credited as Persephone Pomegranate & Robert Bowen)
Written by: Rob Bowen
Starring: Rob Bowen

You can also get the free digital download of the festival cut of Cashing Out here! Just click and download will begin. Then just unzip the file and enjoy!

Director’s Notes

People talk all the time about virtual trials by fire, and I feel that the universe really wanted to drive that point home as I set out to start this new chapter of my life as an indie filmmaker. Having finally broken the cycle of unending pause I sat on, waiting for my words to make it to the screen, I set the date that we were to begin this journey. I had penned a poetic and highly personal piece to get this ball rolling, and even decided I would step in front of the camera as this was a learning experience I didn’t wish to inflict on anyone else. The day we were set to begin filming in our apartment, we were forced to evacuate due to the threat posed to the city of Manitou Springs by the spreading of the Waldo Canyon Fire. A fire that had begun earlier that day. Continue reading