Over the weekend, my wife and I decided to attend the local sci-fi convention Farpoint (held just north of lovely Baltimore, Maryland.) Yes, this was Valentine’s Day weekend, don’t judge us. We had a great time as we always do.
This year, we were fortunate enough to meet Russ Emanuel, a young filmmaker from Los Angeles, who was at Farpoint to show his film Occupants, a work that he’s currently submitting to film festivals and comic-cons.
I’d seen that Occupants was featured in the convention schedule, listing Robert Picardo on the cast. If you’re not up on your Star Trek lore, Picardo was the Emergency Medical Hologram of Star Trek: Voyager, and easily the best element of that show. Easily. Let’s not argue.
My wife loves Robert Picardo from his days on China Beach, so I was considering checking out the movie’s showing Saturday night at the convention. It’s kind of cool to see an indie film, and I knew she’d appreciate me selecting a movie with one of her favorite actors.
And then we lucked into having lunch with the director, Russ, and there was no further consideration. It was going to be a done deal.
Occupants is a sci-fi/horror/thriller. It’s not gory, it’s not messy, but it’s a sold Twilight Zone experience. Hey, just watch the trailer:
It features a small cast, with the majority of the film supported by two actors, Briana White and Michael Pugliese. Both were charming and engaging.
If you must know some details, the film centers on a documentarian named Annie who has roped her husband into a project that involves cameras throughout their house. Unexpected complications arise when the cameras start showing something else.
If you like stories with parallel universes, this will be agreeable territory.
The director has showings of Occupants at film festivals and comic cons (there’s a comic book tie-in centered on one of the secondary characters – I will provide no other context) between now and July, when he’ll be showing the film at the enormous Florida Supercon. (There will probably be more viewings going forward, check out the Occupants website for locations near you.)
Anyway, I’m shying away from talking too much about the plot, because it’s best people not know too many details going in to see a thriller. I’ll just say that I enjoyed it, my wife enjoyed it, the audience enjoyed it.
Russ gave a great Q and A afterwards which was a joy to experience.
Should you get a chance to see Occupants during its publicity runs at conventions or film festivals, let me know. Just don’t confuse it with 2011’s Occupant, 2012’s The Occupants, or 2014’s The Occupants. Which might all be fine films, for all I know.
For real updates, I recommend you follow the director’s Twitter account: @RussellEmanuel. He’ll keep you up-to-date.
Stay warm! (It’s damn cold here in Maryland today.)
Occupants text is from the movie’s trailer (which you should check out.) Image of Robert Picardo as the EMH, and Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine is from Star Trek: Voyager, obviously.
I make no claims to the artwork or images, but some claims to the text. So there.
© Patrick Sponaugle 2016 Some Rights Reserved