The local film Saving Star Wars, after nearly a year in circulation, is quickly gaining a reputation as the Little Indie That Could.
The cast and crew of 'Saving Star Wars' at the IMAX presentation: Shelly Wood, Wendy Carson, Dan Niswander, Bridgette Jones of Indiana State Museum, director Gary Wood, David "Darth Vader" Prowse, Jim Peterson, Lee Ann Millen and Joe Urban.
"We've played in 10 countries and two continents! And on IMAX!" director Gary Wood remarks with some amazement. "What other little independent film can say THAT?"
The most recent step for the film has been a well-received run at the Indiana State Museum and the singular honor of a presentation on the 60-foot IMAX screen. It's a bit dark and fuzzy on a screen that big, but what do you expect from a $50,000 local film?
"What it lacks in clarity, it makes up for with HUGENESS!" Wood says.
The story follows a couple of lifelong Star Wars fans who accidentally kidnap George Lucas at the Star Wars Celebration; in-jokey comedy ensues. David Prowse, best known as the man in the Darth Vader suit, appears as himself.
Wood and company have nip-and-tucked the bloated original version from last year, cutting out 45 minutes for the DVD release and recent screenings, and the cuts definitely improve the film's pacing.
Other standout moments for the film include the audience choice awards at the IU/South Bend Film Fest and the Gen Con Film Festival in 2004. Thanks to Prowse's influence, it also screened at the London Film Festival.
"Dave's been able to open a lot of doors for us, and it's up to the film to keep them open," Wood says.
At that festival, Jim Peterson picked up the Best Supporting Actor award for his scene-stealing performance as the ubernerd best friend.
"When Christian Bale wins best actor [for The Machinist] in the same festival, you know you're in good company," says Peterson, a high school drama teacher in Carmel.
Prowse, who plans on starring in Wood's next two films, including the upcoming Christopher Guest-style mockumentary Open Mik'rs, expressed his respect for Wood's burgeoning talent. "The big thing about the really good directors is having an eye," Prowse said. "It's about a good eye for camera angles and setups, and I think Gary's really developing that."
Nobody's quite sure what's coming next for the Little Indie That Could.
"Every time we think it's run its course, every time we think it can't get any better, something else happens that goes up one level," Wood says. "We've given up trying to predict where it's going to go next."
For more information check out www.savingstarwars.com.