Monday, March 8, 2010

Goatman - The Movie

The legend of the half-man half-goat creature known as the Goatman has survived for more than 50 years in Bowie, and now Bowie native Andrew Bowser has made the Goatman the subject of a movie making its debut at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas later this month.

Jimmy Tupper VS. The Goatman of Bowie is the story of a young nobody who is dumped in the woods as a prank after he becomes drunk and passes out. Jimmy, played by director Andrew Bowser, eventually finds his way out of the woods, but his body is bloodied, and Jimmy has a story to tell - he's seen the Goatman. Jimmy returns to the woods with a video camera to prove to his friends that the Goatman is real.

Jimmy Tupper VS. The Goatman of Bowie Official Trailer

Although some people may categorize the style of the film as "found footage", Bowser said that the movie is more of a commentary on the genre that was made popular by The Blair Witch Project in 1999. Although the "found footage" approach created some challenges for Bowser, it also helped him keep the film's budget low.

I interviewed Andrew Bowser about his links to Bowie, the movie and his memories of the Goatman legend.

Can you tell me about your past and current links to Bowie?

I grew up in Bowie and still have numerous friends and family members that live there!

How long did you live in Bowie?

From when I was born until I moved away to college in NYC. Then after two years at school- I moved back to the area until leaving for LA. So about 22 years total.

Where did you grow up (what section/neighborhood)?

B section! Brierdale to be exact, right off Buckingham.

Are your folks still in Bowie?

No, my Dad lives in Massachusetts and my Mother lives in Arkansas. But my sisters live in Crofton and Crownsville. Also, my in-laws live in Bowie still.

Which schools did you attend?

Holy Redeemer Pre-school, Kenilworth Elementary, then Thomas Pullen Middle and Suitland High.

You were in the Visual and Performing Arts magnet program at Suitland High?

Yes I studied photography at Suitland in the VPA department.

When did you graduate?

I graduated from Suitland High School in 2000.

Any other links to Bowie?

Bowie was where I grew up, so I have a million links. I worked at the Hoyts movie theater when it opened and was there for a few years. I worked at the Tony Roma's restaurant with my friend and fellow actor Pedro Gonzalez. I also worked at the Target overnight stocking. The Hoyts is where I met Chris Jones, Tim Kuczka and Pedro Gonzalez who are all in the film!

Is that the same Pedro Gonzalez who is a Spanish teacher at Samuel Ogle?

The very same one!

Where was the movie filmed?

Bowie, all over Bowie. K section, O section, a gas station at the intersection of Route 3 and 450. Hmm...let me think where else...of COURSE Governor's Bridge Road and the woods directly past the bridge.

I assume that the movie is set in Bowie?

Heck yes.

Any other current/former Bowie residents in the film? I saw the following listed: Pedro Gonzalez, Chris Jones, Michael Eller, Tim Kuczka, Micah Terrill, Rose Rodkey, and Brittany Latorre.

Gary Coby is in the film and also co-produced it alongside Tim Kuczka. There are NUMEROUS Bowie-ites in the picture. Too many to count. I think everyone in the film is from Bowie or lived there. Chris Jones however is from Laurel!

Do you have any childhood memories of the Goatman legend?

I just remember hearing stories of him killing animals and people with an axe. I had a friend whose parents loved telling scary stories. They lived right on Belair Drive and would have big halloween parties every year. They told us about the Goatman and a million other stories about the Belair Mansion being haunted.

Is there any link to the movie and what you and your friends did as teenagers in Bowie?

The movie was really a "return to form" of sorts for us. We made films at the Hoyts all the time. We would stay after hours and make silly shorts and even attempted to make a feature a long time ago. I've been working in music videos for a few years and living in LA working on another film I made called "The Mother of Invention". That film cost a little more than "Goatman" and was made out here in Cali with my friend Joe Petrick. Coming back to MD and making this movie with my MD bros was like getting back to basics. It's what we grew up doing.

Did you and your friends ever go out "searching" for the Goatman?

We used to drive onto the bridge and turn the lights out. We'd be waiting for either the ghost of a murdered woman- or the Goatman. We never saw either.

Have you ever been to Glenn Dale Hospital?

Heck yes. Numerous times. In fact, in the sequel to "Goatman" The Glendale Hospital plays a HUGE role.

What's next for the film after SXSW?

I am going to enter more and more festivals and look for financing for "Goatman 2".

Are there any planned viewings in the Bowie area?

Not yet, maybe after we get into a few more fests (God willing) we will do some Bowie screenings.

How would someone see the movie after SXSW?

The only way to see it is if we get into more festivals at this point.

After reading one of your blog posts, I've got to ask you this. Would someone give this film a "Christian" label?

Most people would not define this film as a "Christian Film." Quite the opposite really. But I love Christ and attempt to do everything with a goal of pleasing him. But the monster movie I've made is very displeasing to Christ in the eyes of a lot of Christians so it may be divisive in that world. I can say this, the sequel delves deeper into the supernatural world and the motives behind murder and destruction so perhaps...that will seem more "Christian" than it's predecessor. But my intentions as a filmmaker are to illuminate truths and emotions that I think God wants brought into the light as well.

Anything else that you think people from Bowie would be interested in knowing about you or the movie?

I think it would be great for Bowie to get behind the film, see it at fests if they can over the next year and help us get the sequel made! Perhaps there is some rich doctor in Bowie somewhere that's always dreamed of being a movie producer...?

The movie is featured as part of the SXSW Film Festival's Midnighters Screenings. Show times at the Alamo Ritz 2 in Austin are March 14th at 11:45pm, March 16th at 11:00pm and March 20th at 11:00pm.

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  1. The Goatman haunted "Old" Fletchertown Road in "Old" Bowie. I also grew up in the "B" section.

  2. The Goatman haunted the BARC (Beltsville Agr. Research Center) farm for decades. We traveled Beaver Dam Road, Soil Conservation Road and Powder Mill Road on many a night back in the 70's. We swear we saw him at least 4 or 5 times, especially under the B/W Parkway bridge over Beaver Dam Road. He was an integral part of our youth growing up in Beltsville. Can’t wait to see your film.

  3. I grew up in Bowie from the age of four. My brother and I had spotted goatman on several occasions on Governors Bridge Road. It was a big thing to park on the bridge and see how long you could stay before being scared off. Legend was you sit on bridge and goatman would come and he did!!!