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Screening Times: Sunday March 13th, 9:30pm (Rollins Theatre), Tuesday March 15th, 9:30pm (Westgate), Friday March 18th, 11:30am (Paramount Theatre)

The story of a Eastern religious obsessive vlogger and idiot savant whose social ineptitude only rivals his desire to create Web Art, Austin based director Anlo Sepulveda’s Otis Under Sky follows the title character as he falls in love with a kleptomaniac, womanizing lesbian and conceives of an Internet-based Art project to connect people spiritually via the Web.

Filmmaker: How did you first conceive of Otis Under Sky?

Sepulveda: The inspiration for Otis was a soft-spoken, somewhat awkward bull rider named Garrison I met years ago. He was into Eastern philosophy and religions. He eventually learned Arabic and moved to Morocco. He came back to Austin once for a visit and had a full beard and was wearing a turban.  Of course, when Anis Mojgani was slated to play Otis the character changed but the spirit of Garrison is very much still there.

Filmmaker: Who was most instrumental in getting the film financed and produced after you’d written it?

Sepulveda: Well, the film is unscripted and really didn’t fully come together until we started editing so as you can imagine we did not attract a lot of backers. But my wife, Mandi Sepulveda, pretty much made the film happen financially and logistically. After we gained some momentum we received a grant from The Austin Film Society’s Texas Filmmakers’ Production Fund. That really put some wind in our sails.

Filmmaker: What were your biggest challenges when constructing the film in post-production?

Sepulveda: Narrowing down the footage into a story. Since we shot unscripted, there were so many scenes that were repetitive or unnecessary. So narrowing it all down was a challenge.

Filmmaker: Where were you and how did you react when you were told you’d been accepted to SXSW?

Sepulveda: I was driving home from work and Janet called me and it took a second to really process. Once I realized what was happening there was this overwhelming since of relief.  As a starting-out filmmaker you experience so much rejection, and it is hard to justify to yourself and everyone around you that they should still believe in you. When you get that call all that self doubt just disappears. It is huge relief. Then the pressure comes right back when you realize, oh crap, I really have to finish the film now, and make it as good as it can be.

Filmmaker: Are you planning to do any DIY promotion or distribution with the film?

Sepulveda: This is all new to me, so we are playing it by ear. If someone wants to distribute my film, I definitely am not going to tell them no. But we will see what happens.

Filmmaker: Any other projects in the pipeline?

Sepulveda: Many, many projects. I got projects coming out of  my ears. My friend Paul Collins and I have started filming a documentary on the San Marcos River. All visuals and score. Very Baraka or Qatsi Trilogy-like. Amazing imagery. Many other projects that are top secret for now.

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