Four Eyed Monsters could have been yet another independent film fading into obscurity. No big-name stars and no big-studio money often means no future, no matter how well a film does on the festival circuit. But Four Eyed Monsters, which will be screened Tuesday, June 27th, at the Brooks Museum, continues to draw interest, despite the fact that the film has no distributor and has yet to be released.
"We knew there was an audience for the film, and we were frustrated at the film industry's inability to grasp what we were doing," says Arin Crumley, who made the film with partner Susan Buice. "Instead of waiting for a distributor, we pushed out on our own, via the Internet."
Crumley and Buice posted podcasts on their Web site(foureyedmonsters.com) chronicling both the making of Four Eyed Monsters and the filmmakers' attempts to drum up interest in the film. Since Crumley and Buice released the first episode November 1st, 2005, subscribers have tuned in to see Crumley and Buice's trials and triumphs: the $54,000 in credit-card debt that forced the filmmakers to move in with their parents, a nervous breakdown that resulted in the film and its first festival being thousands of miles apart, and the exploits of an overzealous acting coach.
Four Eyed Monsters follows the lives, love, and artistic ambitions of a young couple. The podcasts cover similar territory. What keeps this from being a navel-gazing art-school piece is the razor-smart editing and completely open, self-incriminating content of their documentary approach. "We realized that the story of us trying to get the film out was thematically on-point," says Crumley. Just as they recorded their relationship for the film, the couple turns an unblinking eye on their often bumbling attempts to make headway in the film industry.
The podcasts became an Internet hit, with over a half-million views of the complete series. This was good news professionally for Buice and Crumley, although it did have a strange effect on them personally. "If we meet someone in real life who'd been watching online, they would act very different, just blasting into conversation like they already know us well. While I find it really exhilarating to hear these things from other people, I'm astonished that I'm being let into their lives and shown things when I'm basically a stranger."
The couple is planning on releasing Four Eyed Monsters for download and DVD this coming September. Until then, they'll keep pursuing an audience via the Internet.
"We're making it all happen ourselves, with the help of our fan base," Crumley says. "We are enthusiastic about the possibility of this new form emerging, where artists can use media to be easily viewed by an unlimited audience."
Four Eyed Monsters is the second film in the Brooks' indieWIRE"Undiscovered Gems" Series, which features well-received films that have yet to find a distributor. The screening will be 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 27th. Tickets are $5 for Brooks members, $7 for nonmembers.