So it’s every young filmmaker’s dream, right? Write a script, star in it, ask some of your friends to help you shoot it, and then put it together and get into Sundance. Go no-budget, on location in the town you happen to be living in, getting as much as possible for free, pour your heart and soul into your little project and then get into the best film festival in the world. It’s a fine plan. And one a lot of people try. Sundance submissions this year numbered over ten thousand. Just in the last year, made and submitted. It’s like winning the lottery to get in. And yet, Adam Bowers, in his first feature New Low, did exactly that.
I had the privilege to watch New Low online free last week. Bowers stars as Wendell, a neurotic twenty-something who has to decide between the girl that he’s really meant to be with: the best he’s ever had, or the worst. Wendell’s awkward, socially struggling and over-thinking attitude is the spitting image of a young Woody Allen, a comparison that has not been lost on any of the reviewers. Jayme Ratzer plays the worst girl, Vicky, who sleeps on a sheetless, crumb-covered, pullout sofa and scrounges for breakfast in dumpsters. Valerie Jones is Joanna, the environmentally aware, bleeding heart seal-scrubber type. Wendell likes the way Joanna makes him feel about himself, but he only truly feels like himself, the lazy, apathetic, video store employee he sees himself as, with Vicky.
As you will find when you watch online the full movie, there were some (but not many) problems. The cinematography and lighting were iffy at times, and he probably shouldn’t have attempted as many night scenes with the equipment he was shooting on. There were a couple of scenes where characters seem to be walking down the street with no purpose. At times, the Woody Allen-type jokes can be a little repetitive and predictable, but none of these were serious problems.
I was about to watch New Low, a forty minute version of the full movie in the Spring of 2008 at the University of Florida Cinerama, the school from which both Bowers and I graduated. It was immediately clear that the director was a special talent. He expanded his forty minute script into a feature, and reshot the whole thing the next year. After moving to L.A., he edited scenes on his laptop in his apartment, and swung for the fences with Sundance. Making your first film a comedy and having it work is a nightmare. And yet, Adam pulled it off with flying colors. I was bowled watching this movie, and wait with bated breath for his future efforts.