This year, my first Christmas present arrived several weeks early. When director/producer Ben Foster read my AFF post relating that I’d been locked out of both screenings of his film STRINGS, he sent me a screener to make up for it.
The story centers on Billy, a happy-go-lucky musician whose life is derailed by the death of his young daughter. In an attempt to regain a sense of self, Billy seeks help from Jack, an experimental therapist who secretly recruits patients into a life of vigilante crime. After eight years, Billy decides to sneak back home for a glimpse of the life he left behind.
STRINGS was co-directed and produced by Mark Dennis, who is also the screenwriter, and Ben Foster. The former UT classmates began production on their film while Ben was still a student, which proved to be an advantage. “Being a student always helped open doors on our shorts and we needed that for STRINGS,” Ben said. “People are more apt to help a kid learn than they are to help a grown man make money.”
Austin-cast and Austin-shot, the film stars Billy Harvey, Elle LaMont, Chris Potter, and Karl Anderson. After being cast in the lead role of the musician, Billy Harvey introduced the filmmakers to his song, “The Greatest Escape,” which plays with the end credits. “The Greatest Escape” actually won the award for Best Song at the Breckenridge Festival of Film, where STRINGS had its World Premiere.
The film spent Fall 2011 collecting an armful of other awards, including Audience Awards at the Breckenridge Festival of Film and the White Sands International Film Festival. Co-Directors Mark Dennis and Ben Foster won Best Directing awards at the Tulsa International Film Festival and the Long Island International Film Expo, where Jack Lee earned a Best Supporting Actor award for his portrayal of the therapist.
Ben and Mark won’t be taking a break anytime soon; they’re already in the midst of table reads for their next feature. But for now, they have a present for the public: this weekend, STRINGS will stream for free on the film’s website for two days only—Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So, if you saw it this fall and loved it, this is your chance to see it again. Or, if you’re like me and you’re stuck in traffic when you should be in line at the theater, this is one screening where you can’t be locked out. ‘Tis the season to be sharing, after all. Thanks, guys.
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Filed Under: Austin Film Society News