Homeowner of Parksville seems like the kind of experiment in artistic expression that happens when you take a bunch of multitalented artists and friends and give them the budget to make a movie. From what we can tell of the first teaser trailer that we are premiering here, the result is promising, if not aggravatingly illusive.
Director Sam Hayes and actor Thomas McDonell took an unconventional approach to making the film. They started with a loose version of the script, written by Hayes and edited by McDonell, and allowed the actors to react organically to the scenes. “The lines started and ended as words coming from people, and [the actors] had more ownership of them than me,” explains Hayes. “It wasn’t the word on the page, but more of a friendly suggestion.”
Xan Aird, guitarist of now-defunct NYC band The Virgins, plays Parksville‘s other lead. McDonell is an artist and musician as well as an actor. “A good thing about movies” McDonell says, “a thing that is different from certain other art forms is that, most of the time, you have to work with a lot of people. And working together with people that you like and admire is really good.” Of Aird McDonell joked, “[Xan] says it has to do with his ‘continuing investigation into expressionism,’ but I think he is just being ironic.” Writer-curator-sometime photographer Flora Detournay, and filmmaker Matt ‘Manface’ McCormick also star, with Alex Bolotow producing.
The teaser clocks in at a minute and five seconds, and what we do see in that short time, is three guys on a motorcycle somewhere in the country, to the cheery yet mildly tragic tune of Jude Sill’s “Sunny Side Up Luck.” Hayes chose the song because it “seems to express a certain level of desperation. The title,” he continues, “seems like something someone might say to you when your car breaks down: ‘Ain’t that Sunny Side Up Luck!’ I related to that pairing.” The music abruptly halts, and we see a smoke-flecked image of McDonell’s character before a fire, to the ominous tone of a mechanical heartbeat.
Hayes admitted the ending was a bit of an unforeseen cliffhanger, but wouldn’t say much more about its circumstances. He did, however, give us this apt synopsis of the film’s plot: “The film is about a group of young men who have nothing, but live in a true to life ghost-town, Parksville. So in essence, they own the entire town by default. When Thomas’s character Danny takes ownership of a home, he intuits that he may have lost something else—something bigger. His two pals don’t see it that way. Jeez, it sounds so communist.”
Homeowner of Parksville will premiere next month at Dustin Yellin’s Pioneer Works in Red Hook, until then, we’ll leave you with the trailer.