I was picturing a basket
March 28, 2009 2:39 AM   Subscribe

The trailer for "After Last Season" quietly appeared on the Apple site recently. But what is it? Some suggest a hoax, others a parody. Apple lists it as a comedy, IMDB as a thriller.

The over-engineered official site (flash required) is no help. Is this another vanity project gone wrong, a la The Room, some sort of conceptual art, trying to out-dogma Dogma 95 or is it viral marketing? The movie appears to be real with a production announcement and release date.

For the moment gasp at the cardboard MRI machine, thrill to overlit actors stiltedly reciting lines, be intrigued by pictures of the back of someone's head (link to movie site, again) and astounded by the worlds least interesting telepathy experiment illustrated by early 90s computer graphics.
posted by outlier (82 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
Well, the end of one season does mean the start of a new one so they got the tagline right.

I can't really describe it, and I'm not in the industry, but I've seen a lot of crappy indie films and there's something in the acting, lighting, and stage direction in a few scenes of the trailer that makes this seem as though it were produced by some skilled people. Maybe they just picked the very best scenes they could and strung them into a trailer, but I won't be surprised if this turns out to have some skilled people behind it.
posted by Science! at 2:49 AM on March 28, 2009

Thanks so much! I wanted to post an AskMe thread about this or something. The trailer broke my mind. Good job hunting down those references!
posted by heathkit at 3:09 AM on March 28, 2009

No problem heathkit - the mystery has been plaguing me too.

@Science!: I think you're right. While one source said that none of the actors has been in anything, that's not true. According to IMDB, while none of them are big names and some of them have no track record, others have a substantial set of previous roles. Which only deepens the mystery.
posted by outlier at 3:16 AM on March 28, 2009

I don't care what it is. Put me down for two tickets. If I survived The Phantom Menace, I can handle this.

I liked this comment:

I agree. It's not coming out in theaters. But I have to say I've never seen anything like this. Other than the moving boxes and cheap visuals, it seems like they used the most banal moments of the movie in defiance of all trailer "rules," which paradoxically makes me want to watch it over and over. I don't get it.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:36 AM on March 28, 2009

BTW, be sure to watch the three video clips on the official site after you see the trailer.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:37 AM on March 28, 2009

It's like some sort of procedurally generated attempt at a movie. Maybe this is the newly sentient internet's first grasps at communicating with us.
posted by lucidium at 3:45 AM on March 28, 2009 [39 favorites]

It's possible I'm more confused than other people here. Hard to tell with these things.
But the trailer at apple was crashing my browser, so I tried YouTube and found this video which appears to be what everyone here is talking about, except with Joaquin Phoenix thrown into the mix. Am I on the right track?
posted by mannequito at 4:28 AM on March 28, 2009

May be a conceptual art piece about the role of marketing in the commercial success of a film as it reminds me of 'blair witch project' a bit. The nonsense of the trailer only heightens my curiosity and makes me want to buy a ticket to see if they manage to make the story even feebly coherent. It also reminds me of 'eternal sunshine of a spotless mind' for some reason.
posted by Saddo at 4:32 AM on March 28, 2009

Fuck, nevermind, I found the 'parody' link in the OP. Bizarre. I'm gonna guess it's a new David Lynch/Charlie Kaufman collaboration.
posted by mannequito at 4:33 AM on March 28, 2009

This is the weirdest trailer to watch at 6:30 in the morning while tripping on salvia.
posted by shii at 4:34 AM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Naw...can't be real, even a low budget indie film would have better production, acting, lighting, script, editing, you name it values than this....

I've fallen asleep during a lot of movies, but this is the first time I dozed off during a trailer!
posted by HuronBob at 4:42 AM on March 28, 2009

That is absolutely brilliant. Amazing. I'm going to track this down and watch it and it's going to be the funniest thing I've ever seen.

"They've got printers in the basement you can use."

Are we sure Michel Gondry isn't involved in this somehow?
posted by mmoncur at 5:00 AM on March 28, 2009

It's like some sort of procedurally generated attempt at a movie. Maybe this is the newly sentient internet's first grasps at communicating with us.

The nonsense of the trailer only heightens my curiosity and makes me want to buy a ticket to see if they manage to make the story even feebly coherent.

posted by permafrost at 5:08 AM on March 28, 2009 [2 favorites]

Christ, I wish the Dharma Initiative would just leave me alone.
posted by hifiparasol at 5:29 AM on March 28, 2009 [8 favorites]

I was on the fence about whether this was a fake or not until the "Uhh...we've got printers in the basement you can use" Moment. It's just impossible that this could be anything else. It's like the perfect storm of bad acting and the compilation of meaningless scenes. It's too consciously terrible.

That said, it's not too far off from Troll 2 in terms of the actors' skill.

...and you don't piss on hospitality.

posted by orville sash at 5:37 AM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Trying to be the anti-Ishtar?
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:44 AM on March 28, 2009


Exactly what I thought of, too. I'm intrigued, for sure. Whether it's a work of genius in disguise or something else entirely, I doubt the mystery is going to last until the release date. I hope it does - I'd love to go see this on opening night - but I have my doubts.
posted by god hates math at 6:25 AM on March 28, 2009

Well, it's a masterpiece compared to this, which it totally serious.

The linked trailer played before Knowing in our local theater. At first I thought it was a joke. But after about 15 seconds, I whispered to my movie companion "This is SO bad it HAS to be a Christian movie." (And I am a Christian.)
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 6:37 AM on March 28, 2009 [5 favorites]

i was thinking hal hartley :P

posted by kliuless at 6:38 AM on March 28, 2009

I googled Prorolis (the name of the corporation in the trailer) and this was the most interesting link not related to the film. It seems to be a misspelling of propolis, a type of resin collected by honey bees and used to strengthen their hives, among other things.

Given the possible relation to bees, the super low budget, the old school graphics and the genuine oddness of the whole thing I offer the following wild ass speculation: this is the long awaited sequel to WAXXXXX.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:53 AM on March 28, 2009

Oh why can't we recognise authenticity when we see it?
posted by jettloe at 7:10 AM on March 28, 2009 [2 favorites]

Region said the project has been about 10 years in the making, including the three years it took him to write the screenplay.

He said the trailer for the movie can be misleading.

“It’s pretty much what you see in the trailer, but more than that,” said Region. “It’s different.”

WOW. That's truly fucking-with-you Andy Kaufman style. I love it.
posted by fungible at 7:24 AM on March 28, 2009 [2 favorites]

This is 100% fake.
posted by empath at 7:36 AM on March 28, 2009

lucidium: It's like some sort of procedurally generated attempt at a movie. Maybe this is the newly sentient internet's first grasps at communicating with us.

Yes - this. The film was created by some new creature, the actors coerced into participating.
All of the production and marketing was done by the robot master.

However, when we see the film, we will notice the subtle clues revealed by the enslaved actors. We, as humans, will be able to piece together the unspeakably horrifying reality that is behind "After Last Season." That it is being produced by a machine - the same machine that is preparing to bring an end to the season of humanity.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:41 AM on March 28, 2009 [2 favorites]

I especially enjoyed the ceiling fan in the "MRI room".

Technically, this trailer doesn't rise to the level of my kid's high-school video class. I've made 8mm home movies that were better lit.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 7:41 AM on March 28, 2009

According to IMDB, If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends: Hatari!

Also, I don't ask for much . . . please, please let this be for real.
posted by theroadahead at 8:07 AM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Anyone who has ever tried to work in the industry can tell you this is professionally produced, with some fairly serious money behind it.

Not because of anything technical, but because the trailer is on apple.com and the film and all the cast are listed on imdb before the movie is out. Simple as that.

And Science! is right, it is pretty clearly professionals purposely looking amateur. Just a few of the giveaways:

the editing is quite good.
the sound recording is pretty flawless, which is never the never the case on cheap films.
the shots are framed well- amateur films are pretty much always put the actors dead center in the frame.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:07 AM on March 28, 2009

I won't be surprised if this turns out to have some skilled people behind it

The ceiling fan in the MRI room looked like it was professionally installed.

That was some nice fan hangin'.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:36 AM on March 28, 2009 [6 favorites]

On non-preview, damn you, AsYouKnow Bob!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:37 AM on March 28, 2009

Technically, this trailer doesn't rise to the level of my kid's high-school video class. I've made 8mm home movies that were better lit.

You just brought up some wonderful memories for me. In 11th grade, our audio-video class had an assignment to make short films to be entered into a national competition. The only guideline was the theme, which was 'Smashing Barriers'. I believe everyone else in the class took this metaphorically (as I'm sure was intended), and made inspiring films about people overcoming obstacles and achieving goals in life. Our group, on the other hand, made a James Bond style action flick where the evil villain was named Hans Barriers, and was eventually run over by a train (using footage from The Omen 2).
Come to think of it, our film Agent Orange was of higher quality than this trailer. That's scary.
posted by mannequito at 8:46 AM on March 28, 2009 [5 favorites]

Any suggestions this is an alternate reality game?
posted by Kattullus at 9:01 AM on March 28, 2009

I googled Prorolis (the name of the corporation in the trailer) and this was the most interesting link not related to the film. It seems to be a misspelling of propolis, a type of resin collected by honey bees and used to strengthen their hives, among other things.

Any suggestions this is an alternate reality game?

This made me think of I Love Bees. So yes, maybe. Is there a new Halo due anytime soon?
posted by dammitjim at 9:11 AM on March 28, 2009

Any suggestions this is an alternate reality game?

That is my gut-level truthiness response to the trailer. However, if this is supposed to be the doorway into something bigger, they have hidden the key very well. I've yet to follow an obvious or intuitive "path" away from this trailer and come up with anything.
posted by hippybear at 9:12 AM on March 28, 2009

A while ago I watched this movie called The Bilbee Boys. The story could have been cute, but the acting was just so, so appallingly bad that the thing never had a chance. Had I not seen TBB, I would think that After Last Season was a joke. But having seen the depths of suck through which some movies can drag themselves, I just don't know anymore.
posted by phunniemee at 9:34 AM on March 28, 2009

the sound recording is pretty flawless, which is never the never the case on cheap films.

Um. The sound recording is pretty dreadful. You can hear the echo of the room every time they speak. If it were a friend of mine, I'd think they'd done a pretty good job with inadequate mics.

The editing and framing aren't terrible, but, come on, I could do as good a job as that and I've probably spent 100 hours shooting and 10 hours editing (video) in my whole life. There are a lot of other things there that point to "amateurs" - the infinite depth of field in every shot, the more-or-less constant length of each scene, terrible shadows, the fact that many of the shots are framed too high (too much ceiling) and inconsistencies in the lighting (including one over-exposed scene).

In short, except of course for the appearance on Apple's site and to a lesser extent the IMDB reference, there's no evidence at all that this wasn't done by a group of amateurs with no talent.

It's a little puzzling - but not very promising. If you like this sort of thing, which I do, I strongly, strongly recommend Garth Marenghi's Darkplace (apparently, there's a whole episode on Google Video!) I haven't seen all the episodes but the three I saw had me laughing so hard I could barely breathe.

The difference is striking. In "After Last Season," the actors aren't really trying. In Darkplace, the actors are apparently trying really hard to be brilliant - they never break character - the only reason you know it's not actually very bad film is that it's so funny.

There are so many moments it's hard to know where to start. Marenghi delivers one of my all time favorite lines completely matter-of-factly: "I'm one of the few people you'll ever meet who's written more books than he's read." Actors walking up to their cue points and then waiting just a fraction of a second for something to happen. I'm going to cue up the Google video right now!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:16 AM on March 28, 2009 [2 favorites]

s/scene/clip/ above.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:20 AM on March 28, 2009

If this turns out to be about a ski resort, I'll be upset.
posted by subbes at 10:24 AM on March 28, 2009 [6 favorites]

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace is intentionally bad (in the so-bad-it's-good way), and obviously so. It's a comedy series, done in the style of a retrospective on a really corny Doctor-Who-type series. But it's quite clearly intentional. And it's FAR better done than this thing.
posted by dammitjim at 10:34 AM on March 28, 2009

seconding notions proffered above, this is a knowing joke. shout out to drjimmy 11, who nails it. even the indie film kids in my humble midwestern burg, with no budgets to speak of at all, could manage to film an mri scene in a an actual mri clinic, be it through favors, connections, or outright begging. building a cardboard mri? c'mon . . . . oh wait, i get it: you're being ironical.
posted by barrett caulk at 10:39 AM on March 28, 2009

the trailer is on apple.com and the film and all the cast are listed on imdb before the movie is out

Well, all it takes is a fee to get on apple.com, and on IMDB you just fill out a form.

But I get the sense you were being ironic/sarcastic.
posted by fungible at 10:40 AM on March 28, 2009

Okay, it has to be a setup of some kind. The names of the supposed visual effects company ("Multiple Visuals") and the computer animation company ("Activating Keys") don't come up in Google. In fact, those seem like clues.

Maybe this "trailer" isn't for a real movie - it will get replaced with a real trailer later after the internet has generated tons of Cloverfield- and Snakes-on-a-Plane-like buzz. Maybe the real movie is about the making of this fake movie. Maybe it is another I Love Bees, and the real product isn't a movie at all. I could see a survival horror game in the premise. Actually, it would be pretty awesome for a game to use this "ridiculously bad movie" conceit.

The fact that the Prorolis Corporation is the only "clue" name in the trailer (they don't mention the name of the town that they keep boringly talking about), and that it's a word that's similar to something related to bees says to me that if nothing else, that's a tip-of-the-hat to I Love Bees.

Hilarious Google result for "Peggy McClellan" (Sarah Austin): Sox Appeal Episode 6, which is apparently a NESN dating reality show about dating Red Sox fans. And according to her Facebook page, she's from Boston. So she seems to be real.
posted by dammitjim at 11:15 AM on March 28, 2009

Film within a film? But the film it's within is (also) a low/no-budget indie.

That's my guess at least. There aren't the tells that a well-funded marketing operation would leave, and/or the lack of sophistication underneath the surface. But there definitely seems to be a ruse going on: the poor quality, the chain of domain registration identities, the director's name, etc.
posted by pokermonk at 11:19 AM on March 28, 2009

This reminds me a lot of Exposure; a weepy pot-boiler indy flick that probably never played in theaters outside the director's home town. (I saw a copy that had been submitted to a film festival; the jury rejected it). It had the same expensive-camcorder picture quality, the same lifeless acting, and the same industrial-film dialogue. And I promise you, it was not intended as a joke. However, Exposure didn't contain any MRI machines constructed by children. Also, there was sufficient story there to allow even the most inept film editor to put together a trailer for it that did not feature people talking about belly button lint.

But yeah. Films this bad do exist. I've seen one, I swear.
posted by Clay201 at 11:39 AM on March 28, 2009

OK, ending the trailer with "we've got printers in the basement you can use" is such an obviously self-conscious WTF moment that I can't believe you guys are even debating this. actually, this thread is almost more of a WTF than the trailer.
posted by naju at 11:45 AM on March 28, 2009 [2 favorites]

I agree that Darkplace is obviously intentionally bad. But they do it very very well - the tiny touches are brilliant.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:56 AM on March 28, 2009

(Oh, and as for the purpose of this trailer? It's obviously an April Fool's Day prank on the move, as a viral something for something. If I had to guess, I'd believe that there would actually be a movie about the making of the movie we see in the trailers - a full-length feature like what we see would be astonishingly dull...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:58 AM on March 28, 2009

If I had to guess, I'd believe that there would actually be a movie about the making of the movie we see in the trailers

I know that, after American Movie came out, every agent and prodco in Hollywood was hit with a tsunami of screenplays about crazy incompetent people making very bad movies.

I would have thought that the non-success (commercially, that is) of Be Kind Rewind would have pretty much killed the trend, but maybe this is a viral marketing initiative for just such a movie?
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:04 PM on March 28, 2009

Metafilter: we've got printers in the basement you can use.
posted by Rangeboy at 12:36 PM on March 28, 2009

I've been looking around at this and finding information and I can say now with about 99% confidence that this is a real and true amateurish peice of shit which will also never be seen in theatres. Here is the website of the film's supposed "distributor." That is a not a company that has any contacts with any exhibitors, and they don't know how to get them, either. It's just the "production company" (and I'd doubt very much if Index Square is even legally incorporated) calling themselves a distributor in a surreal and misguided attempt to drum up some interest in this weird little project.

I've worked on project not much better than this, in which a writer/director was wiling to max-out their credit cards on their personal vision without realizing that they didn't have the know-how to effectively get it onscreen. In those cases, they were generally surrounded by people who were at least somewhat professional, and who did their best in spite of everything. That's how you end up with something like "The Room." Here, what you get is people who know just barely enough to make the film at all, but who really, really wanted to make a movie. They've got the way of moving the boxes and chair, and they're excited about that, and it's possible that there's even an intriguing concept behind it all that got everyone on board. The director clearly hired his friends to act in it, and trusted his friends who said they could shoot, light, and edit it. Region still might not know how poor of a job they did.

The official website of course has more typos and mistakes than actual production information, and the nice font on the pretend-professional poster-style credits just hammer the point home further that "Index Square" wants more than anything to be taken seriously, but doesn't know the rules of the industry they're trying for (notice that according to the "poster credits" there is no writer for this project. What that says to me is that it's not a joke, because that's just waaayyyyy too subtle to be a reliable joke at all, but also that it's not actually professional at all, because even a low-budget, shitty professional shoot would know the WGA guidelines for that sort of thing.)

Now I know that in our post-ironic age it's super-rad to be as skeptical as possible about this sort of thing, but if this is an elaborate joke, it is beyond Andy Kaufman or really anyone else we've seen. The details of how badly-made this is are simply too perfect. The sound-recording and editing gave me the first clue. Sorry, drjimmy, but you're wrong about this - they're straight-up amateur. They may not be as bad as what you get in a youtube video, but we wouldn't expect them to be, because Region really, really loves this project. Thus, the sound-recording is done as cleanly as possible as far as the non-professional sound-guy knows to listen for, but that guy also took no room tone, you'll notice, because he didn't know he was supposed to. That's why there's a tonal cut with almost every visual cut - the editor didn't know any better either. This is also true with the ringing echoey tinny feel for the recording - as far as the inexperienced recordist was concerned, it was crisp and clear and usable, because he couldn't hear/didn't know to listen for those problems.

The framing is also uninteresting at best. Way, way overlit (as has been said) but with the bigger problem being that "production designer" Gregory Reed doing absolutely zero production design. Mark my words, Reed got that title because he scouted the locations or else built the cardboard MRI machine. It's also all white, which is a huge no-no which, like the credits mistake, is only a "joke" for those truly in-the-know enough to know that you don't do that. You don't shoot white, especially on video, unless you're Roger Deakens, and you don't have zero adornments either.

My own best guess as to the numerous nonsequiturs in the trailer is that Region tried to include every friend who performed for him, no matter how irrelevant their role was. The apple thing doesn't shock me (what does apple care, as long as you pay for your rent?) and the imdb page sure-as-shit doesn't. Every tiny non-distributed film you've never heard of has an imdb page - it's the first thing you do to make it look official.

The June 5th "release date" probably means that Region did what Doug Liman did with the original (apparently horrible) cut of Swingers, and rented out a theater in New York and one in LA in which to show it as if it were for real. The Boston one might be a more legitimate deal, or might not be - it's hard to tell. It seems like this was shot around Boston, and that's the only reason to have that be the third city for your "opening" (read: one-night) engagement instead of Chicago.

Or he might not have theaters at all, and is hoping to sell the distribution rights off in time for the premeire. Best of luck there, Region.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:30 PM on March 28, 2009 [11 favorites]

Counterpoint: Index Square, Mark Region, Activating Keys and Multiple Visuals all sound like they were chosen at random from the Adobe Flash manual.
posted by naju at 1:48 PM on March 28, 2009 [5 favorites]

I shutter to think that someone would willfully try to recreate the magical shit-fest that is The Room. A million monkeys on a million typewriters could do a better job writing, acting, and directing that movie. Which is why it is AWESOME. This trailer just made my brow furrow.

I'll still probably watch it though.
posted by Bageena at 2:29 PM on March 28, 2009

You guys aren't working hard enough. Let's pretend this is a MetaTalk thread about Givewell or plagiarized webcomics. Now dig, hivemind, dig!
posted by shakespeherian at 2:30 PM on March 28, 2009

Whatever the truth, where do some people seem angry about it?
posted by Mick at 3:02 PM on March 28, 2009

I hope yer right, Navelgazer, because you're gonna look mighty silly if this turns out to be a genuine art project for someone famous.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 3:16 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

I was thinking of flowers. (Image of weird, spikey shitty-computer graphic ring).

No, I'm in the "shit" camp.

Unless there's a documentary about this somewhere (I think someone already mentioned 'American Movie"...)
posted by From Bklyn at 3:50 PM on March 28, 2009

It's pretty funny, whatever it is.
posted by ph00dz at 6:14 PM on March 28, 2009

Navelgazer is Mark Region! OMGOMGOMG GENIUS
posted by fungible at 6:17 PM on March 28, 2009

The temperature changes for the residents of a city with the end of a season. In locations close to the suburbs, some residents adjust themselves to the weather. Medical school students move their belongings to a dormitory. As they go through tragic events, those residents must reevaluate their lives and face new questions.

That's from the website. This style of writing--stilted, odd--is usually found in three contexts, in my experience:

1) Poor translations into English. Think of the financially-oriented spam you get.
2) Procedurally-generated Markov nonsense.
3) Cryptic-crossword clues, or text that's otherwise put together because it needs to point to something else.

My feeling is that this is intentional, and that we're probably doing exactly what the designer wants us to do.
posted by awenner at 6:35 PM on March 28, 2009

I'm going to have to disagree with awenner. This doesn't sound like an inadquate translation, the product of an algorithm, or an acrostic. Rather, it sounds like your average amateur writer trying very hard to write professional level promotional copy.
posted by Clay201 at 7:10 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

I just watched Synecdoche, New York last night, and between that movie and this trailer, I'm gonna have to watch the new Hannah Montana movie or something just to balance it all out.
posted by zardoz at 7:28 PM on March 28, 2009

Dammit, here's the blog link.
posted by gubo at 8:38 PM on March 28, 2009

As a film critic I get screeners all the time that are far worse than what this appears to be; I'd say this is either an extremely poor film or a doctoral dissertation on film art brut.
posted by jettloe at 8:47 PM on March 28, 2009

I think this is the film trailer version of this blog. Therefore, I am squarely in the "elaborate hoax" camp.

However, that said: at a film festival, I once watched a movie where the first twenty minutes consisted of a very distant still shot of a couple in a hammock. The people were so far away that they resembled ants. This is an approximation of the dialogue:

Old Man: I wonder when our son will get home from the war.
Old Woman: He's been gone so long.
(dog barks)
Old Man: I wish that dog would stop barking.

Repeat for 20 minutes.

The rest of the movie was just as stultifying: more still shots, more interminable repetitious dialogue. I fell asleep twice. As I left the theatre, I said to my companion: "That is eighty minutes of my life that I will never get back. If that film wins an award at this festival I will FREAK OUT."

The film won a FIPRESCI award.

I would rather watch After Last Season one hundred times than that other film once.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:56 PM on March 28, 2009

hurdy gurdy girl: "I would rather watch After Last Season one hundred times than that other film once."

I sat through a similar event in 2004 with a film called "Bang" (not in imdb) and a groaningly bad documentary about Elvis.
posted by subbes at 9:08 PM on March 28, 2009

That's dogme, not dogma.
posted by sanko at 10:24 PM on March 28, 2009

Casey McDougal's got a pretty ill bio photo on her blog.

For what it's worth, as a filmmaker, I think this is in the same vein as The Room. Just a really amazingly bad movie. In a way, I respect its badness. It takes...something...to be this willfully awful. Some combination of commitment and perseverance and obtuseness. I would rather be responsible for something this out-there and insane than something that just apes middle-of-the-road conventional drama in a desperate bid to be accepted.

Let's hear it for that special blend of stupidity and insanity, is what I'm saying, I guess.
posted by Bobby Bittman at 10:53 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Watching it again after thinking about it a while, I have some more thoughts:

1. We maybe shouldn't judge the acting too harshly, because the trailer gives us no real context for it. The line, "I've never been to that down, but I've been through it" sounds like someone who has at least a sense of craft and is giving it her all on naturalistic subtlety despite the obvious trappings of incompetence around her.

2. We can give some of that same benefit of the doubt to the writing, or at least t the editing of the trailer. I'm not saying that the writing is "good," but just that it might not be comically bad either. Again, we lack context. I amend my theory on why the trailer is cut the way it is: I now believe that Region was going for a Shyamalan feel, and that after spending ten years refining his baby, these things which seem nonsensical and dull to us might seem tense, foreboding, and important to him. Maybe that trip down to the basement causes something important to happen. Maybe that aforementioned town is ground-zero for something? Again, we'll probably never know.

The lighting is worse than I originally claimed, as there were some nasty shadows in some shots I didn't catch before because I was watching for any hint of competent framing. (BTW, one of the first things I remember from film school was a professor lovingly mocking us for not knowing anything other than framing. Every wannabe director has an idea of framing, because it's the easiest thing to grasp onto with no other background in the art form.

More details as they emerge. (and thanks for the post, this has been a bizarre and fun project for the day.)
posted by Navelgazer at 11:01 PM on March 28, 2009

Seems like it's not Mr. Region's first film: here's a mention of a previous opus, Medium Waves (tagline: 'a murder has occurred in a quiet town') from 2005.
posted by misteraitch at 11:38 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Index Square is, in fact, incorporated in the state of Massachusetts. Mark Region holds all corporate offices. Here's a link to its page on the Massachusetts Secretary of State's website. The link to the search result may expire, just so's you know.

The Massachusetts Secretary of State's database also lists another corporation with Mark Region as an officer, called Sphereplane, Inc, which was registered in 2004. According to its articles of organization, it's also a film production company. Its big outing, apparently, was something called Medium Waves, which looks to have had a rather similar aesthetic to After the Last Season. Region had a partner in the Sphereplane stuff named Chheang Chhun, who is listed by the Massachusetts Secretary of State as having been involved in at least one other film production company, but has no presence whatsover in google or imdb.

I then looked up the properties listed as addresses for both Region and Index Square in the massachusetts land registry, and discovered that they are both owned by Sean C. Chhun, aka Sean Chheang Chhun, the partner from Sphereplane.

I was hoping that I'd find something to tie Chhun to a film program or a university or something, but I've come up with squat.

And really, that's about as much cyberstalking as I have the patience for, of a Saturday night. Off, now, to see 12 Monkeys with my spouse. (Because despite appearances, I really do have a life. Pinky-swear.)
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:46 PM on March 28, 2009 [5 favorites]

Aha! SO I was right about the reason for the Boston release, as well as this being for real, it seems (even if I was errant in my doubts that Index Square was legally incorporated.) Great detective work, misteraitch and palmcorder_yajna!
posted by Navelgazer at 12:01 AM on March 29, 2009

This is pretty much how I imagine the mid-period films of Jim Incandenza.
posted by one_bean at 2:11 AM on March 29, 2009 [2 favorites]

If this was The American Century as Seen Through a Brick, I would totally go see it.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:04 AM on March 29, 2009

If this was The American Century as Seen Through a Brick, I would totally go see it.

I hope you really don't mind if I sit this one out.
posted by hippybear at 8:10 AM on March 29, 2009

Oh, and I probably could have saved myself a lot of keystrokes last night if I'd thought to look in the U.S. Copyright Database.

If you look up Chheang Chhun there, you'll find that the guy's written quite a number of screenplays and things, and that Mark Region is his pseudonym.

So yeah, game, set, and match to Navelgazer for recognizing this as the work of a clueless but passionate nonprofessional from the Boston area. This cinches it.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:31 AM on March 29, 2009 [3 favorites]

I'm convinced. Occam's Razor wins again.

I retract my previous da Vinci codehunting.
posted by awenner at 7:18 PM on March 29, 2009

The film maker is undoubtedly reading these comments... yeah?

Wanna step in and comment?
posted by ph00dz at 7:35 AM on March 30, 2009

IMDB says that After Last Season is "Up 724% in popularity this week."


Yes, I am obsessed with this trailer now.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:26 PM on March 30, 2009

Looks to me like it's been shot on film, not video. Super 16 most likely. If you run through this clip frame by frame you'll see film hairs, spots and glitches that you don't get on video. Even the filters aren't that good (when you do a "film look" recreation in Final Cut or Avid)
posted by rocco at 12:36 AM on April 4, 2009

Much belatedly, but I've found a page of speculation, which reveals the actresses "secret project" is nothing to do with ALS and points to some tidbits dug up by a Facebook group.
posted by outlier at 2:01 AM on April 18, 2009

Funny how that page of speculation heavily references this thread.
posted by dersins at 2:00 AM on April 23, 2009

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