MARTY: A WILD WEST NEVERLAND, 16min., USA, Fantasy/Adventure
Directed by Vu Hoang
Set in a world inhabited by only kids. Marty and Dee cross paths with the ruthless One-Eyed Johnny and the Krimson Kids where they experience the harsh realities of tyranny and violence in the West.
In college I remember watching the classic, French film, The 400 Blows by Francois Truffaut and the famous scene of the main character running off to the beach escaping his troubling adolescence. Later, I was introduced to two amazing music videos called Glosoli and Hoppipolla by Sigur Ros. Gosoli is one of the most beautifully shot videos I have ever seen, setting you in a fantastical world of only kids. HoppIpolla follows a group of elders who instead of being your typical old people, they turn back time. They play ding dong ditch, have an epic water balloon battle and a sword fight at a graveyard. Yes, it is a bit ironic, but timeless in every way.
These videos resonated with me for years, leaving me with vivid nostalgia. Looking back, my childhood was a fun and wonderful time, but it was also as dark as it is was joyous. The innocence I once had and the realities I had faced growing up stuck with me. Being bullied in school, having family issues, finding an identity, or being misunderstood are things that are universal in every person's childhood whether big or small. You are met with realities and are always in the unknown, unsure of what life would entail. Sometimes you have your imagination, a place you call your own. A place that sets you free from what you don't understand. I often found myself imagining I was a hero of my own story, often depicting myself as a character from my favorite TV shows, standing up to bullies I've encountered or protecting the weak from harm. I could never let go of these feelings. Therefore, I sought to recreate them through film.
A few years later, I met my buddy Christopher Guanzon, a young aspiring writer & producer fresh out of USC. After reading a script from his first short film out of college, I felt he would be the perfect fit to help me turn my concept into a short film. With his love for the western genre and my love for bringing raw emotions and themes within my own films, together we formed Marty: A Wild West Neverland. Creating a live action western world with a cast of all kids was not easy, it was not cheap, and the Kickstarter Campaign was a vigorous process. Every obstacle felt impossible to overcome: production days were hot, trucks got stuck in the sand, and over 20 kid actors were scattered on set. However, one of the great things about the film is the lifelong journey I took to make it a reality. This isn't just a film about kid cowboys and bandits. It's a film about adolescence. A time when you felt free, confused, happy, and lost. Because we are still, in our every right, forever young.