These days, the limits of special effects technology are only set by the imagination. A filmmaker with a vision, the right software, and enough time can build worlds fit for major studio blockbusters. While the indie world has produced high fantasy and Lovecraftian mind-benders, few have utilized DIY tools to break the rules of conventional sci-fi storytelling like Shane Carruth, the director of Primer and Upstream Color. And now Carruth returns, this time as a producer, for a truly far-out project: The Wanting Mare.
From writer-director Nicholas Ashe Bateman, The Wanting Mare is described as an “intimate, dramatic fantasy tale” set in a Lord of the Rings-esque world that’s technologically modern. The first trailer for the film is moody and expansive, swinging from passion-charged moments between characters and grander vistas. The meta-hook is that Bateman, whose previous design credits include Wendy, Save Yourselves!, and the upcoming drama The Green Knight, reportedly shot most of The Wanting Mare inside a storage unit in New Jersey, and spent five years toiling away on the visual effects.
Here’s the full description for The Wanting Mare, which is chock full of lore.
In the world of Anmaere, north of the city of Whithren, wild horses run through the moorlands and up the coast. These horses are the city’s most valuable export, and as a result are hunted, trapped, sold and shipped across the sea once a year. For those in Whithren, this trade passage creates lucrative and exciting possibilities: the chance to escape their constantly sweltering city to head to the Western continent of Levithen, or just to begin again.
Meanwhile in a small house just north of the city, a young woman dies in childbirth. Her last words are an attempt to tell her daughter of the life she’ll have and her inheritance of a recurring dream that must be kept secret; for it contains the memories of another age long before us, one where magic and myth were alive in the world.
That daughter now left behind is Moira. She grows alone in Whithren, without anyone to explain her dream, her unique difference, or her place in the world. As a result, she resolves to leave Whithren at all costs, and employs the help of Lawrence, a wounded young man engaged in the criminal enterprise of stealing tickets.
This begins a series of events that echo over the next thirty-five years of their life, the life of a child found screaming on the rocks, and through the alleys and coasts of Whithren; a city hidden in the fog, wanting in hear, now beginning again.
Carruth has taken his time following up Upstream Color, flirting with projects but not settling on anything that’s actually gone before cameras. Instead, he’s offered his expertise to other collaborators, composing music for Starz’s The Girlfriend Experience series and producing The Wanting Mare. As a true artist of the independent scene, his involvement in Bateman’s debut feature makes the film an even brighter aura of artistry.
The Wanting Mare is set to premiere at the now-digital Chattanooga Film Festival beginning May 22. This year’s festival is open to residents of the United States, with fest badges available for purchase.
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