While the name of Gorilla With a Mustache Productions may be new to many, those who follow the Asheville edition of the 48 Hour Film Project should already be aware of this group of filmmakers. Their short film Bump — and entrant in last year’s festival — just made its appearance at the Charleston International Film Festival, while its 2010 entry Touched By Angels brought in a slew of awards, including Best Picture.
With that success, the crew — which consists of director Katie Damien, Matt Shepard, Eruch Adams, Cory Adams and Lela Winton — decided to take the original eight-minute-long Touched By Angels and give it the feature-length treatment. “We felt like we had momentum and confidence,” said Shepard, actor and co-writer on the project, describing the decision to go longform to Xpress. Now, nearly two years later, and with a completely fleshed-out script, the Gorilla With a Mustache troupe is ready to take the next step.
The film can be best described as an ethereal buddy comedy, about a former demon and current angel-in-training (played by Shepard). With the aid of a much more happy-go-lucky, gregarious angel (played by Dave Dietrich), Shepard must help a washed up rockstar (Asheville bon vivant Kipper Schauer) write one last great song. While it’s a simple foundation, Gorilla With a Mustache saw room to flesh out the film. “We just wanted to make this into a feature length,” explained Shepard. “There’s so much more to explore with the characters, and with what the characters are exploring about life and the universe.”
That last part is important, since the movie has more on its mind than just laughs. “Ideas of reincarnation, and how Heaven and Hell are not forever places, evolution of the soul towards Nirvana. It takes a little more Eastern view,” explains Shepard, but don’t worry about getting bogged down in a theology lesson. “At the forefront, it’s comedy.”
The group has been taking donations and has a Kickstarter going for a little over the month to meet a modest budget that with the best case scenario will afford Touched By Angels a name Hollywood actor. Regardless, the production will be hectic one, with shooting happening over a few weeks over the summer in Asheville and the surrounding area. “It’s going to be a fast and furious shoot with long days,” Shepard points out. “We know that’s what we have to do to make our film on such a tiny budget.”
Touched By Angels is just a jumping-off point for Gorilla With a Mustache, a simple project these filmmakers want to tackle for the simple love of making movies, Shepard says. “I don’t know what’s going to happen with this. I’m going into this saying I want to do this, I want to make this happen. I want to make a movie, I want to be in a movie.”
Learn more about the project at its Kickstarter page. One day left!