I'd like to introduce you to Peter Atencio, a director from Ft. Collins, Colorado. I had the good fortune to come across Peter on a young filmmakers' web forum years ago. There, he shared bits of his work and even some stories as he navigated his way through the show-business world, working with the likes of entertainers such as Jonah Ray, Fred Willard, Wyatt Cenak, the Sklar brothers, and many more. I even caught his name a few months back mentioned on my personal favorite podcast, Chris Hardwick's The Nerdist, which brought a big smile to my face.
His work is often characterized by a de-saturated color palette, loose/kinetic camerawork, and an offbeat, deadpan sense of humor. He applies this unique style working on various projects for companies such as Warner Bros., Funny or Die, Turner Broadcasting and Sony Pictures.
Just recently, I picked up a copy of his new movie, The Rig, released on DVD. The Rig is a competently-made, low-budget sci-fi thriller about an isolated "roughneck" crew of an oil-rig stalked by a mysterious creature during one stormy night. It stars an all-around likable cast of characters, mostly fairly new-comer actors with a couple vets thrown in for good measure.
I've known of Peter for quite some time, but only recently after watching his new film (which, as a creative-type of the same generation, I found to be pretty awesome and inspiring), did I reach out for a brief bit of insight. Unfortunately, The Rig has, in my opinion, endured far more than its fair share of harsh criticism; Peter admitted to me that the negative reviews pointed at his film can be difficult to hear. After all, he put two years of his life into the project. Nonetheless, he is proud of the movie he's made and truly appreciates hearing from those who take the time to share their reactions with him.
Is it a perfect film? Mr. Atencio will be the first to admit that it isn't. It's a little rough around the edges--but for a first independently-directed feature-length film, it's pretty stellar. And certainly a movie to take pride in. If you seek a Lake Placid 2 or a Mansquito-esque Syfy Channel bit of lackluster, sleazy entertainment, you'll be disappointed to know that this low-budget sci-fi film was made with heart and some real talent behind the camera. Of course, it doesn't hurt that veteran actor William Forsythe (The Devil's Rejects, The Rock) is a supporting player in the story and the visuals are accompanied by an excellent score from Bruce Fowler (orchestrator for The Dark Knight).
If you're looking for a solid, entertaining, under-the-radar action flick with plenty of nods to the golden Ridley Scott/James Cameron era of sci-fi films, and perhaps are interested in supporting a talented young filmmaker, I urge you to check out The Rig, and follow the career of Peter Atencio. Pull up his IMDb pageor his personal website for more information.