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Meet the SXSW Filmmakers #48: Simon Ennis' Moon Comedy 'Lunarcy!' Finds Comedic Hope In Devoted Dreamers

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire March 7, 2013 at 7:55AM

Simon Ennis' "Lunarcy!" began as an honest documentary about the Moon and those most enthusiastic about it, but the more time the crew spent with their subjects, the more the focus of their documentary shifted towards the men and women who have devoted their lives to the our planet's Moon, distilling their eccentric love into a study of how we find inspiration in our passions.
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Simon Ennis
Simon Ennis
Simon Ennis' "Lunarcy!" began as an honest documentary about the Moon and those most enthusiastic about it, but the more time the crew spent with their subjects, the more the focus of their documentary shifted towards the men and women who have devoted their lives to the our planet's Moon, distilling their eccentric love into a study of how we find inspiration in our passions. The film's slated to make its television premiere on EPIX after the festival on April 3rd. 

What it's about:

A comic documentary about a disparate group of dreamers and schemers who all have one thing in common: they've devoted their lives to the Moon.

Tell Us About Yourself: My first feature, You Might As Well Live, premiered at Slamdance in 2009 and won an award there. Aside from that I've made 3 shorts that all premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (where Lunarcy!'s world premiere happened last September). Aside from making movies, I'm a old-time music enthusiast, baseball addict, cat lover, pretty good cook and all around ramblin' guy.

What else do you want audiences to know about your film? Lunarcy! features Dennis Hope (who filed a claim of ownership to the Moon with the U.N. in 1980 and has made millions of dollars selling 1 acre lots), Apollo 12 Astronaut Alan Bean (4th man to walk on the Moon who now paints lunar landscapes), Peter Kokh (a salt-of-the earth septuagenarian from Milwaukee who has written a speculative journal for the last 30 years about how we can make ourselves feel at home on the Moon) and Christopher Carson (an eccentric and highly intelligent young man who's trying to start a DIY space program called The Luna Project and intends to become the first person to leave Earth and never return)... but the film is not REALLY about the Moon! It's actually about human creativity, inspiration, philosophy and obsession.

What was your biggest challenge in developing this project? Stretching our modest budget to get in as much travel as was necessary to make the film properly. I live and work in Toronto but couldn't find any appropriate subjects that were anywhere close! I shot in California, Nevada, New York, Milwaukee and quite a bit in Texas. Despite the fact that it was a financial challenge, that amount of travel was also one of the biggest joys of making the film.

What would you like SXSW audiences to come away with after seeing your film? Hopefully audiences will be entertained, moved, encouraged to see the beauty and value in the pursuit of what are often considered "crazy ideas" and ultimately be inspired to set off on a quixotic journey of their own.

Lunarcy!
TIFF Lunarcy!


Did any specific films inspire you? Not specifically, but Erroll Morris's Vernon, Florida is a particular favorite. Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg, too. There are a number of National Film Board of Canada docs from the 70s and 80s that are pretty far out that I dig. Herzog, too. Coming from a narrative film background, while making Lunarcy! I probably felt more of a kinship with the kind of films that stretched or blurred the definition of "documentary" a little (spoiler alert: my doc ends with an elaborate dream sequence).

What do you have in the works? Yes, both narrative features. Right now, I'm working with my producer Jonas Bell Pasht on an R-rated astronaut comedy called Moon Buggy that was inspired by a lot of the research that I did for Lunarcy!. I'm also in development on a dark, surreal comedy that's a present-day re-imagination of a famous classic novel (but I'm going to keep what that is a secret for now!).

Indiewire invited SXSW directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2013 festival.

 Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on March 8 for the latest profiles.

This article is related to: Meet the 2013 SXSW Filmmakers, SXSW Film Festival