SF IndieFest 2014
By Don Simpson | February 5, 2014
Director: Shayne Ehman, Seth Scriver
Writer: Shayne Ehman, Seth Scriver
Starring: Shayne Ehman, Seth Scriver, Marc Bell, Mike Constable, Gregor Gordon, Amy Lockhart, Jodie Mason, Ian McGettigan, Charlie Shaugnessy, Erin Zimerman
What I love most about SF IndieFest is the fearlessness of the programmers in presenting unique and strange cinematic visions. This year, Asphalt Watches is one of those films. The fevered brainchild of producers/directors/writers/animators Shayne Ehman and Seth Scriver, Asphalt Watches is a crudely animated re-imagination of a trans-Canadian road trip that they took together. The resulting film is an incredibly surreal portrait of random small towns across Canada that are strung together in a dizzying web of highways and railroads. Asphalt Watches may not exactly be a boon for Canadian tourism, but it is an astounding trip nonetheless.
As Bucktooth Cloud and Skeleton Hat meander their way across Canada, usually by hitchhiking or train hopping, they encounter a bevy of eccentric individuals. Instead of smelling the roses, Bucktooth and Skeleton observe the “local color”; and the sublimely rendered caricatures of those individuals are the true lifeblood of Asphalt Watches. Like Richard Linklater’s Slacker, Asphalt Watches focuses on capturing the random menagerie of people that passes across the frame, rather than developing a coherent narrative. Asphalt Watches is about living in the moment and truly immersing yourself into the experience at hand, not worrying about where you are going next.
If you happen to enjoy partaking in hallucinogens, this film might just be worthy of such a trip; but even without drugs, you might still find yourself hypnotically lulled into a heady state of dazed confusion. Whatever the case, sit back and enjoy the journey.