Sunflower Hour at Cinequest

Saw another couple of fun films at Cinequest last night. The first of them was Sunflower Hour. The premise of this mockumentary is to follow four contestants who are auditioning to become the newest puppeteer on the children’s television show called “Sunflower Hour”. The direction of the humor becomes apparent when you find out in the first scene that the show was started by a sleazy adult film maker looking for a new direction, and that his abused wife is deliberately choosing the weakest candidates to move forward in the auditions. From this set-up, the movie goes fully over the top in developing every wild implication. The result is a funny, if somewhat raunchy, view of a business that normally tries to maintain the cleanest of clean images; kind of like if The Simpsons’ Krusty the Clown were to get a feature-length biopic.

Director Aaron Houston, present at the screening, was somewhat apologetic about the low budget ($30,000) of the film, but I think (and it also sounded like he realized) that the sometimes wobbly camera, funky editing, and “video” look of the film gave the film an innocence and honesty that let him get away with things he couldn’t have done with a slick, high-budget film. Overall, a great film to capture the “Maverick” spirit of Cinequest and deliver some laughs.

Sunflower Hour screens again Sunday, March 4, at 9:15 pm; and Thursday, March 8, at 11:30 am. Both screenings are at the Camera 12.

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