WHERE DOES THE TITLE COME FROM?
It comes from this phrase in Philip Larkin’s poem THE LIFE WITH A HOLE IN IT:
"Life is an immobile, locked/Three-handed struggle between/Your wants, the world's for you, and (worse)/The unbeatable slow machine/That brings what you'll get.”
Not bad, right? Okay, it’s bleak, but don’t worry - the movie’s funny.
THIS VIDEO IS NICE, BUT WHAT MORE CAN YOU TELL ME?
STEPHANIE, our main character, is an actress living in present-day NYC. She’s a vibrant, restless person - a woman for whom each new encounter suggests life-altering possibilities. She’s also at the end of her emotional/professional rope: tired of auditions, of tiny roles in dubiously ‘independent’ films, of crossing her fingers for understudy gigs. She feels like time is getting HEAVY. She thinks she is probably reading too much Philip Larkin.
Enter GERARD, an NYPD counter-terrorism specialist who’s an aficionado of downtown theater. Also maybe out of his mind. The two begin an entirely unhealthy sort-of-romance, which culminates… poorly. (We don’t want to give too much away here). Stephanie has to split, fast. She flees upstate with a man-in-a-van, who also happens to be the sound guy for ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER’S band.
The band’s making a record in a big, ramshackle house. Stephanie assumes an identity as a Texan and hangs, listens, spurns the van-man’s advances and tries to keep it together. She doesn’t succeed, and so she returns to the city, and to the consequences of Gerard’s presence in her life…
WHY FILM? ISN’T IT EASIER AND CHEAPER TO SHOOT ON VIDEO?
So we’re told! There are a few reasons:
1) Even though SLOW MACHINE is a comedy, it’s interested in some heavy things – surveillance, terror, the niggling fact of mortality. This movie requires the grain, the flicker of celluloid; the humid qualities of color 16mm are a necessary complement to the cheeky script. We keep describing it as “Andy Warhol directs a Whit Stillman thriller.”
2) Easier isn’t always better. Shooting on film (and at such a low budget – this money is the bare minimum we need to shoot, forget processing, etc.) means that we’re going to be subject to some real contingencies. But we like that. We like that the shots can’t be ‘covered’ too extensively, we like that we’re going to have to plan like hell because film can be so unpredictable. We like that the stakes are high. And we know we can handle them, because thus far we’ve assembled a great crew and a cast of dream people.
3) Film just looks so good. We’re reminded of this every time we see a movie shot on 16mm. Call us fetishists. Call us old-fashioned. We know we’re not the only ones out there.
WHO ARE THE TWO PEOPLE DIRECTING THIS MOVIE?
PAUL FELTEN (also screenwriter) was born and raised in Reno, Nevada. A graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program in film, Paul is the co-writer (with Ian Olds) of the films BOMB (Sundance Film Festival), FRANCOPHRENIA (OR, DON’T KILL ME I KNOW WHERE THE BABY IS) (Tribeca, Rotterdam film festivals), and the upcoming feature THE FIXER. A former director of the Olympia Film Festival, he is a Sundance Screenwriters Lab fellow, a recipient of The San Francisco Film Society’s Hearst Screenwriting grant, and a regular contributor to The Brooklyn Rail.
JOE DENARDO (also cinematographer) grew up in various Midwestern suburbs, where his immersion in punk rock led him to school at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He has been a member of the art-punk group GROWING for 13 years and is about to release the first album by ORNAMENT, his solo project. He has directed and photographed various music films, and was the subject of a retrospective at Union Docs in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2014.
STEPHANIE HAYES as Stephanie
Born in Sweden, Stephanie is an actor, writer, and theater artist living in Brooklyn. She received her BFA in performance from Simon Fraser University in Toronto and her MFA from the Yale School of Drama. Her recent theater work has included OLD FASHIONED PROSTITUTES, directed by Richard Foreman, and ILLUSIONS at Baryshnikov Arts Center. She is a two-time recipient of an artist-in-residency grant from the legendary Mabou Mines theater company.
SCOTT SHEPHERD as Gerard
A staple of the downtown theater scene, Scott is a member of both The Wooster Group and Elevator Repair Service, two of New York’s most revered experimental theater companies. Recent performances have included the title role in The Wooster Group’s HAMLET and Nick Carroway in ERS’s epic F. Scott Fitzgerald adaptation GATZ. He is currently touring internationally with Young Jean Lee’s STRAIGHT WHITE MEN and can be seen opposite Tom Hanks in Stephen Spielberg’s upcoming film BRIDGE OF SPIES.
ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER as Eleanor
Eleanor is a co-founder (with her brother Matthew) of the groundbreaking art-rock duo The Fiery Furnaces. Her recent solo recordings include the acclaimed albums LAST SUMMER and PERSONAL RECORD. In 2014 she toured as part of EXPOSED: SONGS FOR UNSEEN WARHOL FILMS (Brooklyn Academy of Music, UCLA’s Royce Hall), providing musical accompaniment to previously unreleased films by the artist. Recent film appearances include STATION TO STATION (Sundance Film Festival), a documentary chronicle of the roving arts festival of the same name. Her new album, entitled NEW VIEW, will be released later this year.
CHLOË SEVIGNY as Chloë
Since her debut in Larry Clark’s KIDS, Chloe has performed in dozens of film and television productions, and is also the co-founder of a fashion label for the global boutique Opening Ceremony. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in BOYS DON’T CRY; other roles include Nicolette Grant in HBO’s BIG LOVE, Alice Kinnon in Whit Stillman’s THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO, and Chelsea O’Bannon in Netflix’s BLOODLINE. Rizolli Press published her eponymous book of autobiographical recollections and photos earlier this year.
KYLE HEPP - Producer
Kyle was born and raised in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. After receiving a BFA from the SUNY Purchase Film Conservatory, Kyle went on to produce a number of television programs, a bunch of web series and a couple of commercials. Most recently, she acted as Supervising Producer for MTV’s digital content studio MTVother, overseeing the creation of over 30 productions for the web, including a Webby Award-winning series, the acclaimed short MYRNA THE MONSTER (Sundance Film Festival), and the newly-released THE UNTITLED WEB SERIES MORGAN EVANS IS DOING. In addition to producing, Kyle has sold merch for both Joe and Barry’s bands at one time or another. She also wears a lot of clothing featuring cats.
BARRY LONDON – Sound Mixer
Barry was born in Lakewood, NJ, and spent his teenage years working in his father’s eyeglass store in downtown Brooklyn. When not cutting lenses, Barry imbibed a steady diet of comic books, punk rock and re-run television. He eventually become became both a sound engineer and a record nerd. He has worked on a number of reality TV shows such as WIFE SWAP, CAKE BOSS, CHOPPED and others of that ilk. Prior to the reality boom he mixed a number of independent films, most notably the 2002 Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning film PERSONAL VELOCITY. When not making television he plays in the experimental psychedelic jam band ONEIDA, who recently performed at the Guggenheim as part of the ZERO: COUNTDOWN TO TOMORROW retrospective. He hates what NY has become. He loves synthesizers.
WHAT ARE YOU GUYS DOING WITH THE MONEY?
Though most of the cast and crew are kindly waiving the usual fees, and though we’re doing our damnedest not to pay for a single location, we still need money for -
$$ - The aforementioned film.
$$ - Sound people get paid.
$$ - Transportation of cast/crew to places like this, our upstate location:
$$ - Food. Cast/crew gotta eat.
$$ - Equipment rental.
$$ - The occasional prop/supply. It’s possible we’ll need a broom or something at some point. Paint. Stuff like that.
Risks and challenges
There are plenty of challenges facing any ultra low-budget shoot, but we're already working to mitigate as many of those as possible, primarily by locking down locations and schedules far in advance of our October shoot. And, if something falls through, we're a very portable outfit - we've got our own camera and sound gear - so we'll be able to adjust!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)