Jacob Ogles and I sat down with our ever-elusive SRQ publisher, Wes Roberts, to talk with him about his own film being shown at SFF, Foos Don’t Lie. The eight-minute film was filmed here in Sarasota and features such local notables as Patrick McCall, Christine Alexander, Chris Friday, Sage Hill and Catey Brannan who, according to Wes, steals the show with her character: a germ-phobic, hypochondriac advice-pushing coworker. Sounds sort of familiar…
The film was an improvisational experiment. I found myself competing in a 48-hour film competition with a team of improvisational actors.
So there was no script?
We knew the editing style, the through line and the plot, but outside of that there weren’t any written scripts. What happened in each scene was unscripted and of course there are always unexpected treasures that you discover when you approach it that way.
Is it a spoiler to talk about the fact this foosball table was everywhere?
What you have is a very internal journey of a young woman who is resisting the societal commitments of growing up, becoming more committed to her boyfriend and that sort of thing. The people who play foosball with her at the table are the people who help create her personality—her family, friends, past boyfriends… All of us are a composite of our experiences. In this case she goes on a journey of self-exploration to discover why she can’t make this decision that seems, on the outside, it should be an easy one. And the biggest the thing she discovers is that a lot of the advice she’s been given is terrible. So it’s about flushing out the bad advice and finding your own truth.
It’s not a movie about foosball. However, there’s not a single scene or shot that doesn’t have foosball in it. But it’s definitely not a film about foosball.
So what is the film about?
I just told you! The name of the film is Foos Don’t Lie. It’s very experimental. The fact that so much of it was improvisational puts extra demands on the audience.
The way a 48-hour film works is that it’s a competition, and you’re given a category and aspects you have to include. Myself and my two writing partners, both men, received the category of “film de femme,” which simply means the main character is a woman and it’s from the woman’s point of view. You’re also given a prop and a line of dialogue that you have to include in your film. On Friday you write the film, all day Saturday you shoot the film, all of Saturday night you edit the film, and on Sunday morning you exceed the speed limit to turn the film in. We almost didn’t make it.
It’s pretty rare for 48-hour films to be in festivals because of the limitations in the filmmaking environment. In this case the audience’s enthusiasm for it will hopefully exceed the inevitable limitations that come from making a film in 48 hours. For people in Sarasota, this film has a lot of treasures that they can discover. People will compete to see who can figure out where the locations are. It was filmed 100 percent in Sarasota, and many of the actors will be very recognizable.
So when are you going to show your staff the movie?
I’ll show it at the staff meeting on Thursday.
Are you going to bring popcorn?
I don’t really eat popcorn.
The rest of your staff does.
Well, what about kale chips?
Kale chips? No thanks.