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Take 5 with “Being Awesome”

We’ve asked the filmmakers for the 11th annual Oxford Film Festival the same five questions. Meet Allen C.Gardner, writer/director/producer/editor/actor of Being Awesome. This film will be screening Friday, Feb.7 at 4 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 9 at 4:30 p.m.

#1: In 140 characters or less, describe your movie and why someone should see it.

Pushing thirty and disappointed with their lives, two guys set out to be awesome. It’s a story about seeking the kind of validation that, in countless ways, we all need.

#2: Biggest lesson learned in getting the film made? Best part in getting the film made?

The biggest lesson I learned is that you should stay open and explore all of the possibilities through every stage of production. The more you question all of your creative, technical, and logistical choices, the more you’ll reinforce why you need every scene or piece of equipment or location that you’re convinced that you need, and the more you’ll realize what you should let go of. The goal is to make a movie that you love, and you need to figure out what’s helping you achieve that goal and what’s actually getting in the way. All of that being said, know when you’ve found the answers that you’re looking for. Don’t question yourself into a corner. The key to making a movie is to actually MAKE the movie. Sometimes questioning can give way to incessant doubt, and that mind-set will keep you from ever really moving forward with your film. This is a movie that I simply needed to make, and by far the best par t about the whole process was that I got to make a movie that I’m very proud of with so many people who I love.

#3: Tell us about you. What is your movie making background?

I’m a Memphis native, and I’ve loved storytelling my entire life. I started writing scripts and attempting to shoot movies when I was a little kid, and in high school my friends and I shot a lot of sketches and completed our first feature films. After high school I moved to Los Angeles, where I currently live, and began further pursuing acting and filmmaking. The greatest joy for me in all of this has always been telling stories with my friends, and I’ll continue to do that for the rest of my life. “Being Awesome” is the eleventh movie that I’ve written, produced, and acted in, but it’s the first feature film that I directed on my own. I also love acting in, writing, and staging plays. We recently put up my third original play, “We Got Lucky”, and just completed production on the movie version.

#4 What do you want the Oxford Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title or description?

It’s a very sincere, grounded movie. My whole life is about connecting with people, and that mentality definitely informs my approach to storytelling. The only way to really connect with people is to be honest and unguarded, so I want my work to be honest and unguarded. Oh, and if it helps to paint the picture a little more clearly, one of the first things that I do when I’m working on a new script is put together a massive playlist that I’ll then listen to constantly, and there’s a ton of Elliott Smith, Ryan Adams, and Band of Horses on my “Being Awesome” mix. So anyway, now you know THAT! Ha!

#5: What does the future hold in store for your film and for you?

We’ll continue entering “Being Awesome” into film festivals and will find the most ideal distribution platforms for us. We want to share our work and connect with as many people as possible. Aside from this movie, I’m in post-production on “We Got Lucky”, I’m getting ready to shoot a comedy called “Bad Bad Men” with Brad Ellis, Drew Smith, Gabe Arredondo, Matthew Stiller, and a few of our other close friends, we’re in pre-production on a horror/thriller I wrote called “Sold”, and I’ve got a few other films that I’m very excited about lined up.

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