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September 3, 2022 @ 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm EDT
Renegade auteur Geoff Marslett, whose work veers from experimental animation to documentary to indie drama, delivers his most ambitious project yet in Quantum Cowboys. The fantasy feature combines the filmmaker’s love of physics with his passion for animation, in this case a whole shopping cart’s worth of styles and processes that include stop-motion, hand-drawn digital rotoscoping, acrylic painting combined with live action characters, digital collage, CGI 3D animation, and old-school hand-drawn animation (a mere 2D). If that’s enough, the all-star cast acts in front of 8k digital and 16mm film cameras, and then it’s all stitched together into a rootin’-tootin’ hybrid thingamajigger you’ve never, ever seen before. Marslett’s time-and-space cowboys (Kiowa Gordon and John Way) traverse a cosmic terrain (also known as Arizona) populated with the likes of David Arquette, Frank Mosley, Gary Farmer, Alex Cox, the late French New Wave goddess Anna Karina; musicians Neko Case, John Doe and Howe Gelb (who also composed the soundtrack); and the actress Lily Gladstone in the lead role of Linde, whose character’s arc takes her through a dozen different multiverses. Gladstone, who also stars in another TFF highlight, The Unknown Country, acknowledged the film’s creative risks to Variety magazine, and had no regrets. “Just trusting the process, trusting the story and trusting your intuition and instincts about things is a very hard thing for all of us to do, but I think we got a pretty big payoff.”