Today I spoke with Seth W. Owen, director of Peepers, an interesting film about a rag-tag group of peeping toms, led by the eagle-eyed Steve, who take to Montreal’s chilly rooftops under cover of night to get a vantage of people in their most intimate, within their homes. They’re on the prowl for the perfect peepdesperate to glimpse a “hottie hookup,” a “panty party” or a “big booty buffet” through un-shuttered windows. But their lives are about to change. Enter Annette, a brazen academic who turns the tables by setting her sights on the peepers themselves. Soon it’s a Battle Royale for rooftop supremacywill these die-hard obsessives manage to defend their turf, or will peeping as they know it never be the same?
Q: How did you hear about the Newport Beach Film Festival? A: Met a fine fellow at Cinequest who recommended it. Then, looking into it, we may have heard something about yacht parties. At that point it became really clear we had to make it to Newport. Q: Tell a little about the story of your film and the production of it. A: The story does not stem from any illicit yoyeuristic experiences in my own life, surely! But Montreal is a city conducive to peeping, in all its many guises, and spending a lot of quality time on Montreal’s glorious rooftops – for purely non-peeping purposes! - sparked the initial idea. Later, when I was writing the film with Dan Perlmutter and Mark Slutsky, our writing room had these big, big windows that looked out at an opposing apartment building’s bathroom windows. There were a lot of hard-to-ignore showers going on over there. So that fed into the script, to be sure, and maybe slowed us down, too, because it took us a few years to finish the thing. Then Andi State came on board as producer, and it was damn the torpedoes full steam ahead right to production. We shot predominantly on the chilly November rooftops of Montreal. We were a little army of peeping toms, making it - under cover of night! With nudity! But it was cold, cold, cold, and we had to hustle. We were shooting like crazy to get the thing done in two weeks, and it was an ambitious little production for the budget and time that we had.
Q: Tell a little about yourself and your story in filmmaking. A: For over a decade, I’ve been making underground films under the umbrella of Automatic Vaudeville Studios, and screening them at our boisterous live events. We’re somewhere between a comedy troupe and a major motion picture studio. We’ve shot every genre under the sun – monster pictures, westerns, musicals, Germanic art films. All for around ten bucks. Peepers was an amazing opportunity to make a film with a real budget, and all the perks that come with it. Now I may have to stay above-ground for a little while longer. That having-a-budget thing – I fear it’s gotten its bejeweled claws in me. Q: Your take on the performances of the lead actors, (set backs, triumphs, impressions, good surprises, etc.) A: Automatic Vaudeville has a nice little repertory of friends and actors who’ve been in a lot of our films, and our producer Andi State also happens to be a talent agent, so we kind of brought those two houses together to create the ensemble. Montreal is a city with a lot of amazing, undiscovered talent, and I’m so happy we managed to get so many great folks in the film, even in the smaller roles. The actors had it pretty rough on this one. It’s tough to be funny when you’re freezing your ass off on a windy rooftop in the middle of the night. And they all rose to the occasion. Q: What do you do when not making a smash indie film? A: I spend most of the time on the couch, wondering when I am going to be able to make another smash indie film. The couch is also a great place for finding change, and the perfect vantage point from which to indulge my appetite for an unhealthy amount of reality television programming. When it’s nice out, I may even take a walk.
PEEPERS screens at 8:15 PM today, Thursday, April 29 in the Edwards Island theater 4.
Click here to purchase tickets for shorts showcase: