Love. Drama. Bubble wrap. Yes, the short film Love Pops has all the trappings of any superhero blockbuster today, but you won’t see it in front of the next Marvel picture. Instead, the eight-minute saga rolls this week among other shorts at a special Manasota Films industry event. Fortunately for the Backlot staff, we have an in with the director.
Love Pops is in fact the most recent film endeavor by Wes Roberts, who by day works as the mild-mannered publisher of SRQ Media Group, SRQ Backlot’s parent company. The movie tells the story of star-crossed lovers who each happen to be members of rival superhero/supervillain teams in a city that looks a whole lot like the Sarasota area.
The short is the fourth film Roberts has created through The 48 Hour Film Project, where it won an award for Best Use of Character last year. The rapid filmmaking process has become a successful approach for the Sarasota filmmaker, who also created the short Foos Don’t Lie through the Project and ended up having the film accepted to the Sarasota Film Festival in 2012.
“It’s a very exciting way to dabble in filmmaking, if that’s a passion of yours, without the incredibly life-consuming realities of filmmaking,” Roberts says. “It’s one of those crafts or art forms that always expands to fill every single gap of time you give to it. A 48-hour film is a great way to tame that beast.”
Of course, the film is special to a number of people in the SRQ offices. Evan Sigmund, whose numerous photos can be found on this blog, served as the cinematographer for Love Pops, while SRQ Editor-In-Chief Lisl Liang edited the sound. But the on-screen talent tapped for the film are the ones likely to grab the attention of movie-goers.
The cast is led by Catey Brannan and Jeffrey Kin, both well-known actors on stage and screen in the Sarasota area, but plenty of other notables can be found in key roles as well. Jami Gee, a well-known musician in town, plays a supervillain who only communicates through playing the electric guitar. Chris Gallagher, chair-elect for The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, serves as the lead super villain. Veronica Pastore, a past marketing official for the Sarasota Film Festival, plays one of the heroes. “Most of the time, I am in publisher mode, not filmmaker mode, and when I switch to filmmaker mode, I can’t help but collect the locations, ideas and even people I know,” Roberts explains.
The way 48-hour films work in the Project is that each pre-assembled film team randomly draws a genre—in this case “love story”—and must also use certain lines of dialogue, named characters and identified props. Roberts said his team brought their own costumes and set props, which led to the superhero theme for the film. “The epiphany was definitely the star-crossed lovers,” Roberts says, an idea he attributes to writing partner Nick Tierce.
The short is one of a collection of films to be shown at the February 2014 Manasota Films meeting, which will be held Wednesday, Feb. 19 at Lakewood Ranch Cinemas starting at 8:15pm.
Click through the following gallery of stills from Love Pops.