Adam Bowers taking a break while filming Paperback at Flaco’s in downtown Gainesville. Photo by Kyle Hayes.
Indie filmmaker Adam Bowers returns to Gainesville to shoot second film.
Adam Bowers, a former employee of Gainesville’s independent rental store Video Rodeo, found himself behind the counter again for the first time in six years.
The reunion came in a roundabout way. During those six years, Bowers shot a film called “New Low,” which was selected to play at the Sundance Film Festival. He then moved to LA to perform improv and work in the film industry.
This time, he wasn’t working the cash register because he needed a job. Rather, Bowers was just in town to shoot his upcoming film. Since he was around, he picked up his old duties again as a favor for his friend Roger Beebe, Video Rodeo’s owner.
The movie is a romantic comedy which just finished production here in Gainesville.
Beebe was a producer for Bowers’ second feature, called “Paperback.” The film is a romantic comedy, and it just finished production here in Gainesville.
Bowers’ first film was also shot in Gainesville. With a shoestring budget of $2,000, the indie comedy started Bowers’ career as a professional filmmaker. During his time in California, Bowers began to pursue other projects to follow up his first feature, but he had to deal with the struggles of finding financing in the cutthroat environment of Hollywood.
“I was getting tired of waiting around,” Bowers said. “I was thinking, I already did this once on my own with very little resources, or help or experience.”
This time, Bowers had everything he didn’t have for his first film. He knew he could now make the kind of film that he wanted to see. He gathered a cast and crew of people he’d met in LA. The list included actress Dreama Walker from “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23” and cinematographer Jay Keitel, who shot the film “Sun Don’t Shine.”
With his crew on board, Bowers created a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $39,000.
The filmmakers then made their way to Gainesville to start production. For Bowers, the choice to shoot in Gainesville was a no-brainer. It had contributed to the punk aesthetic of “New Low,” and he wanted that present in “Paperback.”
“There’s a gritty side of Gainesville,” Bowers said. “For a smaller town, it has a kind of edge to it that I think is interesting and that is not that common. That’s the kind of thing that I feel drawn to.”
When it came time to shoot the film, Gainesville provided more than just a setting for “Paperback.” Bowers found the locals ready and willing to do what they could to help. People auditioned for parts in the film, worked as extras and even let members of the cast and crew stay at their houses. Owners of Gainesville staples like Satchel’s Pizza, The Top and Flaco’s Cuban Bakery & Coffee also allowed Bowers to use their spaces for filming.
Summer Adhal volunteered to join the crew and work the 13-hour days as second assistant director. She loved the first film and thought “Paperback” was just as entertaining.
“This script was really hilarious,” Adhal said. “It’s really great making something that you know will make someone laugh.”
The droll humor of “New Low” is present in this film, but manifests itself in different ways. Bowers said this came out of his progression as a filmmaker.
“New Low was very joke-driven,” Bowers said. “A lot of the humor in [“Paperback”] comes more from the context and the situations the characters are in. I didn’t want jokes to come out of the characters’ mouths.”
The characters of the film struggle to find maturity and purpose. Bowers developed themes that came from personal experience.
“Everything I make is in some way about something I’m exploring in my own life,” Bowers said.
Bowers created characters for the film that partially reflect how he felt. To represent the success he found after his first film, Bowers created a character who found success after leaving Gainesville, and is returning to the city for the first time since graduation. On the other hand, the protagonist of the film is someone who never left the city and failed to make something of his life. This character reflects Bowers’ struggle to try to progress as a filmmaker and not become complacent.
However, Bowers achieved more than his self-effacing characters. For “Paperback,” he took on the roles of writer, director and actor, and he is now back in Los Angeles editing the film himself. It is expected to premiere early 2014, and will be available on DVD around this time next year.
Overall the filming took about a month in total, and the crew has left Gainesville. The production went smoothly, largely due to the Gainesville community and its willingness to help. The filmmakers emphasized their gratitude for this.
Colin Contreary, one of the stars of the movie, had never visited Gainesville before. He left with a good impression of the town, and felt that its friendly environment made it a great fit for filming.
“You can film a movie anywhere,” Contreary said. “But when you’re doing it in a place where it seems like people genuinely care about its success, that makes a difference.”