Dauntless Studios today announced the upcoming theatrical release of their recent acquisition, BUCKY & THE SQUIRRELS from Emmy®-nominated director, prolific writer/producer Allan Katz. The film will begin a 45-screen theatrical run beginning in the Midwest and spreading west on January 26, 2018. A national digital/DVD release will follow later in the spring.
From the college town of Appleton, Wisconsin (and his own imagination) comes a story 50 years in the making. Katz explains,
“Back in 1968, a one-hit wonder rock band from Appleton, Wisconsin vanished in a plane crash somewhere in the Swiss Alps. Now, 50 years later, the aircraft has just been discovered with the Squirrels still inside – frozen alive. After they’ve returned home, thawed, and are struggling to return to their former selves, the IRS arrests them for owing a half century of back taxes. To stay out of prison, the Squirrels have to prove they can pay the money back by convincing the government they’re capable of performing once again. Unfortunately, they’re not.”
Suspended animation is a rich seam in science-fiction lore. If you’ve seen LATE FOR DINNER, FOREVER YOUNG, GENESIS II or even SLEEPER, well, BUCKY AND THE SQUIRRELS is nothing like them. Never has the trope been deployed–with clever, creative uses of budget and execution–for artists as famously obscure as Bucky and The Squirrels.
Told as an extended news report (by obviously Appleton-proud newscaster “Steve Schmidt” (Mike Dittman) the film stars Josh Duvendeck, Kyle S. More, Matt Cook and Matt Shively as band mates Doug, Bucky, Randy and Phil, respectively. Lawrence University alumna Jill Lover plays a therapist who is charged with helping the Squirrels recover their physical and mental capacities—and musical chops—after five decades on ice. The film also features cameos by Jason Alexander, Richard Lewis, Mike Ferrell, and Raquel Castro recollecting THEIR fondest, if not always clear, memories of the Squirrels. The film made extensive use of Appleton’s Lawrence University Campus. A number of students served on the production, and former Lawrence University film studies director Catherine Tatge, has a producer credit on the film.
For his part, Allan Katz has a prodigious roster of writing, producing, and EP credits going back to Rowan Martin’s Laugh-In and other classics like Sanford and Son, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, M*A*S*H, Rhoda, Roseanne and Blossom. He garnered an Emmy Nomination for writing for M*A*S*H in 1977. In addition to writing, directing and producing BUCKY & THE SQUIRRELS, he has a supporting role as Mort Fishbeck, the Squirrels’ onetime and current manager.
Katz says, “The great part about making a film is getting to make it. The not so great part is the possibility of not having anyone see it. That’s why I was thrilled when Mark Sonoda of Dauntless Studios approached me and both loved and understood the film. So, we agreed to go into business with him to distribute it. When you write, direct and produce a film it’s like giving birth to a child. And when you hand your child off to a distributor, it’s like letting someone else raise it. Mark co-parented Bucky with me and my baby turned out way better than it would have if it were raised by a single parent.”
On Friday, January 26th, the film will open in theatres across Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota, Kansas and Missouri. The following week, February 2nd, roll-out continues in Arizona and California. Check out the new trailer for the film here on YouTube and on Vimeo.
“We’re proud to shepherd BUCKY & THE SQUIRRELS to the screen,” concludes Dauntless’ co-founder Mark Sonoda. “The Squirrels have succeeded against all odds to battle their way back to relevance after an absence of five decades. Their legions of fans have demanded it, and now, we can finally tell their story.”