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The St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase is an interesting mix this year: serious documentaries, serious feature films, Voltron...and a feature billed as "an unromantic comedy." Love Stalker, co-written and co-directed by St. Louisan Bowls McClean (who also gets a credit on Bill Streeter's much-buzzed-about documentary, Brick by Chance and Fortune, which screened on Sunday), tells the story of Pete (Matt Glasson), a randy womanizer who finally falls for a girl. Unfortunately, Stephanie (Rachel Chapman), is a whip-smart relationship blogger. Inevitably, she discovers his useless Lothario ways, and dumps him. And Pete sets out to win her heart back ... by stalking her.
Love Stalker began as a short for the 2009 48 Hour Film Festival. Glasson, McClean's co-writer and co-director on the film (the two met in Chicago at film school) came out from New York to help out. The film made the finals and won best actor. A few months later, they decided to turn it into a feature-length film. They spent over a year writing it. "We went through about eight or nine drafts," McClean says. "We were going to shoot in June of 2009, and we didn't have any money, we weren't done with the script...so we postponed it to July, and then August. I was pretty much sure it was not going to get made at this point, because we had delay after delay. Finally, we settled on September, because at that point, the weather's really about as good as it's gonna get..."
The funding came from and IndieGoGo.com campaign (they raised $5,000), and while the shooting went relatively fast (they filmed through the first week of October, so there wasn't any magically changing hair or weight loss), McClean says they are still tweaking the editing somewhat. They did screen the film for an audience this spring, after they were encouraged by cult filmmaker Billy Baxter (Dawn of the Dead) to shop the film at Cannes' Marché du Film. But, McClean says, it was hard to get a true fix on audience reaction in France, where a lot was getting lost in translation. So tonight's 7 p.m. screening at the Tivoli will be the film's debut, for all practical purposes. "It's taken this long because we can take this long," McClean says. "We have no deadline."
The extra time they've taken definitely shows; despite the tiny budget, Love Stalker looks better (at least judging from the trailer) than a lot of indie films with million dollar budgets. And local audiences will be happy to see St. Louis show up as practically a character in the film, nearly as much as it does in Streeter's brick doc. Take a look at the trailer here; buy tickets here.