Shocking news. Hollywood lied to you. The cavalcade of multiverse movies, well, that’s just not how the multiverse theory works. Apologies to Doctor Strange and Time travelling machine, but many-worlds interpretation theory does not mean a bunch of realities that are the same but with hot dog fingers or all in sepia. And in his new film, Quantum Cowboys, director Geoff Marslett uses animation and a Wild West tale to map out what’s really going on in our subjective world. Marslett said: “I like how the multiverse is used in the movie to let you do anything, but the theories that you see, they’re really not that close to what physics is really saying. is going on with the multiverse. And part of me is like, wouldn’t it be cool to use cinema to let people experience something close to what science says it is?”
Think of it this way. For his Boulder students, Marslett is the academic who teaches them film animation at the University of Colorado. For Austinites, he is one of the pivotal local filmmakers of the past decade. At the same time, he studies philosophy, mathematics and physics and studied theoretical physics at the Naval Research Lab. All of this being true, this leads to Quantum Cowboyswhich receives its Austin premiere at AFS Cinema, presented by Fantastic Fest.
“With the gift of being able to totally control comes the curse of having to create totally.” – Geoff Marslett
Perspective again: Marslett is perhaps most famous for his 2013 live-action tragedy, love his gunbut his presence is arguably more ubiquitous as an animator – most recently in shorts like “Phantom 52”, but on the grandest scale with his 2010 animated sci-fi rom-com, March. What brought him back to the medium? “Bad decision making,” he said, shrugging with a smile. It’s real indie cinema, which he likened to “being an unsigned band…when you make something unlike anything else on the market, for better or for worse, you make facing this wall of people saying, ‘It’s amazing, I really like it, it’s going to be fine somewhere else. “” It was a phrase he heard a lot with March, but, he added, “Give it enough years, and you’ll forget what this challenge looks like.”
Every alternative vision in Quantum Cowboys has its own unique look, from rotoscoping and puppetry to collage and acrylic paints, each from a different animation house, including Austin’s Minnow Mountain (Apollo 10½), California studios Mystery Meat Media and Artless Media, and award-winning Slamdance animator and illustrator Shunsaku Hayashi. If you’re very careful, the director said, you can follow each intertwined thread through these stylistic differences. Every decision is deliberate but, he added, “with the gift of being able to totally control comes the curse of having to create totally”. That’s why Marslett’s hand is in virtually every frame of Quantum Cowboys. “I personally worked on this film, five days a week, until 4 a.m., for 2½ years.” Without that level of commitment “this movie wouldn’t exist for less than $5 million,” but the end result, he added, is the kind of movie “on which the 15-year-old in me would have liked to be able to fall”.
Fantastic Fest presents Quantum Cowboys, Cinéma AFS, 6406 N. I-35 #3100, Saturday September 24, 1 p.m. Tickets and information at austinfilm.org. Quantum Cowboys Also streaming as part of Fantastic Fest’s virtual [email protected], September 29-October 29. 4. Details at fantasticfest.com.