Meanwhile, in the Bumpyverse: Utah Filmmakers Unveil Latest Stoner Gothic
Southern Utah film collective Bumpy Soup is gearing up for the release of the third installment of their comedy web series Good Show ™, and like its predecessors, it’s a real rollick. This new short, titled “Flame of the Void: A Stoner Noir,” combines the elements of classic stoner buddy comedies with the existentialism of noir, gothic filmmaking, and it absolutely nails the dueling tones of melodrama and parody. Centering around the case of a notorious and missing The Voidz lighter, “Flame of the Void” features increasingly unhinged hangover interrogations and a hilarious psychedelic vision quest that plants itself firmly in the spirit of St. George’s filmmaking subculture.
An evolving creative collective of filmmakers, musicians, photographers, writers, actors and makers-of-all-kinds, Bumpy Soup is interested in representing their small-town, outsider experience on-screen. Varying in size from project to project, Bumpy Soup’s ethos is to amplify and hyperbolize dynamics in their members that already exist. In “Flame of the Void,” actor and audio engineer Morgan Espitia’s beer can staff keeps growing, and piles of empty soda cups from Swig dot the sets. Giving an all-out Henry Zebrowski-esque performance as the film’s manic philosopher hero is Aqua Supreme, who says that one of the best parts of filmmaking with Bumpy Soup is getting to portray “exaggerated versions of yourself that your friends wrote.” Writer Patrick Swansborough had the idea for a series revolving around an aggrandized version of their friend group about five years ago, and each installment of Good Show ™ builds upon this initial concept into what they now call the “Bumpyverse.”
“[Bumpy Soup is a space for] open-mindedness and inclusivity, and wanting to be there for people who feel alienated or left out.”
Swansborough says the characters and storytelling in “Flame of the Void” came primarily from noir as-seen-on-TV—in other words, a parody of a parody. “The overarching theme of all of our projects is that everything has been fun and silly,” cinematographer Shane Stewart says. Stewart notes that he spent time studying classic noir visuals, which is demonstrated by darkly-lit garage monologues and dramatic camera angles of red rock landscapes. Shot on-location, this imagery highlights the subversive space Bumpy Soup is occupying—DIY, gorgeous, filthy and spiritual. It is, as Stewart says, a space for “open-mindedness and inclusivity, and wanting to be there for people who feel alienated or left out.” This is what Bumpy Soup is meant to represent. Their unique name, partly inspired by a stunt pulled in an earlier episode of Good Show ™, connotes “the disparate ingredients of soup. Everyone brings with them their own unique flavor,” says producer Emily Rae.
Representing alternative perspectives is what brings members of Bumpy Soup together. They say that the ability to congregate as creatives working outside of the mainstream is crucial, and they believe in the power of DIY. The film is scored entirely by members of the collective, and each set is an ad-hoc assemblage of Deseret Industries thrifts and on-hand objects. Director and producer Alek Wiltbank says that the opportunity to explore a variety of creative passions through Bumpy Soup, both through films and other projects, allowed the group to create their own counterculture where it otherwise wouldn’t exist.
“The overarching theme of all of our projects is that everything has been fun and silly.”
Alongside Good Show ™, the group produces a TV and film-themed podcast called Bumpy Soup Podcast, where they hold weekly freeform chats followed by a “Watch of the Week” segment, where the varying hosts discuss an episode of television they’ve preselected to watch. The collective is also working on an album to be released in 2024. You can find all of their current projects on YouTube @BumpySoup or stream episodes of Good Show ™ on iNDIEFLIX.
Bumpy Soup will host a release party on Feb. 3 for “Flame of the Void: A Stoner Noir”—which premiers that day on their YouTube channel—at Blues Katz Rock n’ Roll Grill in St. George. Follow @GoodShowTM on Instagram and Twitter for updates on when and where to watch their latest episodes.
Read more about Utah filmmakers here:
Utah’s Filmmaking Future – The Artist Foundry
Josie Jane Rides the Rising Tide of Utah’s Indie Filmmakers