95ERS: ECHOES; written and directed by Tom Durham; starring Alesandra Durham, Joel Bishop, Terrance Goodman, Chris Laird, Anne Sward; 12th Annual LDS Film Festival, SCERA Center for the Arts, 745 S. State, Orem; 96 minutes
OREM — In 2010, Tom Durham and his wife "went broke for the last time" as they tried to finish "95ers: Echoes" with money borrowed on their home.
They were ready to call it quits on the science fiction film when people around the world started pitching in cash to help.
"We had a pretty incredible experience," Durham said. "In one day we raised $10,000. Over the next few weeks, we had over $20,000 more."
Durham said he and his wife were "out of money, out of hope and out of ideas" when "cool people all over the world" discovered their need and donated to the project, causing a media sensation.
"We still did this on a shoestring budget," Durham said (referring to the film that was part of 2013's LDS Film Festival). "But we found with a lot of creativity and a guerrilla approach, you can do anything."
The annual festival rarely has a sci-fi entry.
"This is a project my brother and I cooked up in 1998," Durham explains. "We tried many times to make a movie. Then my wife and I decided to fund it ourselves."
In the film, Ally Durham plays Sally Biggs, an FBI agent with the ability to move time around. She's also the very pregnant wife of a man who goes inexplicably missing but keeps showing up in "echoes" of earlier times.
For some reason that's never fully explained; there are people from space or another dimension trying to repair or change the timeline. Some of it endangers Biggs.
A space captain tracks her every move. Her new boss wants her out. Strangers appear at key moments in her life. Some sequences are rewound several times with varying outcomes.
One really needs a key code to figure this movie out.
While it's mesmerizing in some scenes with a DNA-like ribbon of dots merging and curling, it's frustrating to never get the full picture.
Agent Biggs is brilliant, grieving over her husband's disappearance and determined to not be ordinary in her career, her love life or her role in the time/space continuum.
She's also vulnerable and it's hard to believe any full-term pregnant woman could survive being bounced around as she is. Her abilities and the search for her is connected to a junction of Interstate 95 (hence the movie's title and that of upcoming books and films).
The movie is well-shot, well-acted and nicely crafted, but can be confusing.
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.