Rover (or Beyond Human: the Venusian Future and the Return of the Next Level)
Slamdance Film Festival
Director: Tony Blahd

David (Liam Torres) leads a group of five (later four) followers of a cult that is hilariously secretive about their beliefs. They live in an old church with odd symbols drawn on chalkboards and the pews removed, and the film opens as he explains a “vision” to his glum followers: that the mysterious Randall wishes for them to make a movie about him … that is, him having a dream about himself escaping earth with his love, Dina, which originally came from within David’s dream of Steve Sidell’s character playing Randall. Ahem. At any rate, David hastily puts out an ad for an ambitious film director on Craigslist, to which Mark (Jonathan Randell Silver) replies. Mark ends up agreeing to direct the film with his limited cast, despite that he finds them a bit off—they wear Crocs and eat hot dogs for dinner every night. As David struggles to rework the script to be realistic for the bunch’s budget and scant equipment while maintaining Randall’s message, Mark allows the “church group” to grow on him as he serves as a life coach and even a marriage counselor within the graceless cult. Silver humorously portrays a down-on-his-luck character with wild dreams of making it big off of filming this ridiculous “sci-fi” movie that entertains the idea of cosmic travel to Venus, space ships and futuristic garb. Once he has one too many encounters with an ex-cult member (Jade Fusco), however, he learns some alarming background information on the people of whom he’s grown fond. Through lighthearted situational humor, Rover shines light on the process of acceptance of other people’s social tics and demonstrates the human capacity to listen and uplift each other in the beautiful scenery of a Bushwick church. Torres’ and Silver’s interactions are heartwarming, and as the film eases into fun absurdism and zany back drops, the cheery laughs transcend any mere feel-good film.

Date: 1.23, 11:20 AM Venue: Treasure Mountain Inn, Main Screening Room