What light from yonder spaceship breaks? Anton Doiron (Max, left) and Karl Sears (Bruce, right) figure out what Bruce's spaceship, the Nessus, is telling them.
Filmmaker, writer, actor, director and producer Anton Doiron, left, stands with actor Karl Sears, right, on set. Sears and Doiron grew up in Ketchikan and started making movies in a high school Spanish class.
Story last updated at 3/5/2014 - 2:02 pm
In a future not so far from now, hog fat is king, and space truckers haul thousands of pounds of the substance across the universe. It's a lonely job, one that leads to the need for friendship in the form of people ... or containers of sour cream. On his way to a far-away space station, space trucker Bruce finds both.
"Space Trucker Bruce" is a movie written, directed, produced and pretty much everythinged by Juneau resident Anton Doiron. It will debut at the Gold Town Nickelodeon on March 14, 15 and 16.
Doiron, originally from Ketchikan, moved to Juneau in 2005. It was in 2007 that he started writing the script for Space Trucker Bruce, and 2008 that he started filming.
"It has been my life for the last six years," he said. (That doesn't a year-long break to design a computerized heating system for his house. He's a bit engineering-inclined, to say the least.)
Except for other actors and occasional crew, Doiron created the entire movie himself. Editing. 3-D modeling. The addition of composite effects, sound and music. Directing. Writing the script. Acting in one of the roles. And building. Lots of building.
Doiron built eight different sets in his back yard. The biggest one, a hallway, was 35 feet long.
He became interested in filmmaking while he was a student making a short film for his Spanish class at Ketchikan High School. He got an electrical engineering degree at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. For a while, he worked as an engineer and programmer, and most of his free-time projects were in the field of robotics.
Now, he's a programmer at the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and almost every day for the last six years, he's spent hours working on this movie.
"I decided when I moved here that I really wanted to get back into filmmaking," he said.
Doiron's good friend Karl Sears plays Bruce. Doiron plays Max, a man adrift in his own broken spaceship and cast in the role of a hitchhiker. Local musician Michael Moss wrote a song, "Supply Lines and Deadlines," for the movie. Other locals play roles as well.
Sears grew up with Anton in Ketchikan and was in that same high school Spanish class.
"It didn't really strike me what I was getting into," he said of the six-year project. "It was interesting and a lot of fun at times."
One of the most exciting and nerve-wracking scenes, he said, was a one in which he kisses an actress in the film. "I was kind of a nervous wreck. ... I'm not an actor, so I'd never done anything (like that) before," he said.
The movie is laced with what for the most part is an absurdist sense of humor. (It worked for this viewer.) Mr. Sour Cream is my favorite character, which is not a slight on Bruce or Max. I guess one thing this movie taught me is that I think talking tubs of sour cream are inherently hilarious.
The movie also makes fun of movie tropes (let's just say Bruce, while a little unbalanced at the beginning, is actually quite a Zen master in his jumpsuit and John Deere hat.) Bruce pours over a pornographic magazine called "Space Buns." And then, of course, there's the hog fat.
"I don't know where that came from," Doiron said. "I wanted Bruce to be hauling something in a large tank. They use it as a way to make food, but I kind of joke in the movie that it's the most precious substance in the universe."
In making this movie, Doiron was doing many things for the first time. He read books and taught himself a lot along the way.
"I like to think of myself as 'the everything,' he said. "I'm maybe not an expert at every piece of it, but as a low-budget filmmaker, I feel like you have to be able to do every piece of it."
He gave himself a budget of $30 a week, ultimately spending around $10,000 on sets, editing equipment, cameras, props and whatever else the movie needed.
"They often say ... if you can get 80 percent of your vision on the screen, it's good," Doiron said. "It's never going to come out exactly like you imagine it in your head."
Doiron plans to start his next project, which has a working title of "A Girl, A Yeti, and a Spaceship," this summer.
See a preview of Space Trucker Bruce at http://spacetruckerbruce.com/stbvideos.html. Details are also on Facebook.
The movie is showing at the Gold Town Nickelodeon March 14 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., and March 15 and 16 at 2 p.m.