Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hitting the Paintball Bullseye

Once upon a time, Lonnie Schuyler essayed a progressive mid-1990s sub-plot on the Aaron Spelling TV series Melrose Place as Alan Ross, a gay, closeted Hollywood actor whose romance with social worker Doug Fielding (Matt Savant) is quickly doomed by his insistence on keeping it secret. These days, Schuyler is an aspiring writer-director whose third film looks like it may finally break him out of the pack.

Schuyler took his first crack at feature film directing back in 1997 with the Swingers-like comedy-drama Bottom Feeders. Now, after returning to the director's chair for the 2008 thriller Beneath the Mississippi and last year's short Drop Gun (which he hopes to redo as a feature), he may have finally hit his stride with the romantic comedy Splatter, in which an ex-husband (Matt Geiler) tries to regain his honor through a paintball victory over his wife's new boyfriend (Neil Wells).

Like Schuyler's other recent efforts, the film was largely shot in his hometown locale of Burlington, Iowa. Splatter took home the Eddy Award for Best Feature this past April at the 2010 Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival and was warmly received earlier this month in Santa Monica at the Dances with Films event. Schuyler plans to submit his latest effort to Sundance.

The buzz on Splatter is very good, with people favorably comparing it to beloved film comedies such as Old School and Caddyshack. The movie's next engagement is at the 2010 San Antonio Film Festival, which runs June 23rd through the 27th. Who knows? If Splatter really takes off, perhaps it will do for its Iowa field of (paintball) dreams what another movie did for a certain patch of land in Dyersville.

Either way, you have to love a guy whose Splatter bio sums up his prior directorial accomplishments as follows: "This is Lonnie's third full-length feature. His second feature went on to receive several awards and his first... just sucked."


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