I’ve wanted to make fun, sci-fi action films since I was a kid in Vermont, flying my Millennium Falcon into the intricate action sequences I’d set up with my G.I. Joe figures across my backyard.
The challenges of mounting large scale, VFX heavy productions is both physically and financially daunting. You need time, manpower and lots of money: something I had none of for this film. All I had was a really fun story, some blind determination, talented friends who believed in me and the ability to paint, mold, glue, sew, hammer, draw and dream. Being able to handle large doses of ibuprofen was also a big plus.
The 716th is the result of reaching a moment in my life when my desire to tell stories outweighed my willingness to “wait”. I think we all get caught up in the “how” of doing things. How am I going to find an investor? How am I going to build that set? How am I going to feed everyone and still have money for gas? I didn’t know any of that when I started this film. I just believed that if I took a practical approach to the narrative and was willing to do the work – the “how” would take care of itself. Like Ray Kinsella in a cornfield in Iowa, “If you build it, they will come.”
The 716th was an experiment to see if I could make something everyone said was impossible. Do “world building” with minimal exposition and see if I could drop an audience into the middle of the action and keep them engaged, even if the characters were the only ones who knew the whole story.
This film comes to you with a lotta blood, sweat, tears and love. Every part of making this film happened because of friendships, a love for sci-fi storytelling and the “find a way” spirit of independent filmmaking. It is a journey that has been nothing short of life-changing, humbling and serendipitous for me. The chance to finally work with the incredibly talented friends I know and admire, learn an invaluable skill and create a taste of the kind of stories I hope to be telling for the next 40 years of my life, is something I will always be incredibly grateful for.
Most of all, it was a blast that I hope puts a big smile your face. Because that was the goal.
- Andrew Bowen