Center for the Arts hosting Chataqua Film Festival

(K.S. BROOKS/Chewelah Independent)

BUDDING FILM SCENE: Chewelah showcasing Garageland Chronicles by Spokane filmmaker Shaun Springer along with Q&A…

Theoretically, that’s how the Garageland Chronicles got its start: former zombies, a freak storm and a record store – not necessarily in that order.

Directed by local filmmaker Shaun Springer, the movie, which will be screened at the Chataqua Film Festival, came to be due to a series of unexpected events.

Spokane is home to a number of film competitions and, a few years ago, Springer and his team were participating in a 48-hour slam (you have 48 hours to make a film from start to finish) when a huge windstorm hit the area. The damage from that storm forced the crew to have to find somewhere else to shoot their film – and they ended up at a record store/bar/restaurant/arcade called Garageland.

The short film that came out of that competition grew legs. Four or five of the actors involved, who had non-speaking parts as zombies in Z-Nation, went to Springer and “a couple of them said they’d like to do this again,” he explained. “One of them had an idea for a story – so we were writing a script in this shared universe with this character . so we shoot that little short film. He’s never really acted – the lady who wrote it had never written a script. And another actor said he had an idea for his character.”

Next thing they knew, they were up to four or five scripts.

“Let’s just try to tell these different stories. Let’s try to do a different narrative each time,” Springer recalled saying. “First was a comedy, next drama, and Christmas movie. So every time we do this – we need a different writer and camera person, but involve the same characters somehow. How can we tell each person’s story?”

They ended up with 13 characters – and they told a story with each one. Filming took place over free weekends, when the cast and crew would get together as their schedules permitted.

While the way the film came together may seem unorthodox, it received attention at film festivals throughout the country, including the Boise Film Festival and the Los Angeles Underground Film Forum. The film premiered at SpIFF (Spokane International Film Festival) and multiple showings there were sold out. Springer anticipates that the Chataqua Film Festival will be the last festival for the film this year.

Springer will be presenting The Garageland Chronicles and hosting a Q&A afterwards. “Come out if you want to know more [about the industry],” he offered. He will take “any questions about getting into the industry or just being able to bring projects to life. There’s never just one way to get into the industry – but you can always make a project.”

The Garageland Chronicles will be shown at the Chataqua Film Festival on Saturday, July 13 starting at 12:45 p.m. at the Chewelah Center for the Arts, 403 N 3rd Street, East. Admission is free. You can watch the trailerfor the film at