Wonder World Park might sound like a tourist attraction from the ’80s rather than a movie set, but for one indie film director it had the perfect charm.
“When We Burn Out,” a psychedelic slacker comedy directed by Vanessa Pla, will be shown at the inaugural Lost River Film Fest hosted by the San Marcos Cinema Club. The film will premiere the director’s cut Nov. 3. The festival will be held Nov. 2-5 throughout several venues across San Marcos.
“When We Burn Out” was primarily filmed at local Wonder World Park and depicts a group of misfits who are left to run Wonder World Park after the owner, Buddy, dies in a tragic accident. The story also follows Buddy’s son, Mike, who, in dealing with his father’s death, spirals down a path of destruction.
Although the storyline sounds linear, Pla said it was important to try and capture the realities of everyday life. The film additionally contains a parallel story that subliminally speaks to the darkness, or the negative events and negative mindsets that affect everyday life.
“There is also this surreal note to (the film) where there is this darkness that kind of comes through Wonder World and in a way it sort of reflects on everyone’s darkness,” Pla said. “They have to deal with it whether they want to address it or not.”
Pla said part of the intention of the film was to heal a certain aspect of her life she was outgrowing.
“Bad things happen and then people go out and party to immediately escape from what is happening, “ Pla said. “Part of what began the story was thinking about how to get my friends to wake up and have a little bit of awareness.”
Lorelei Linklater, Austin actress and star of the Oscar-winning “Boyhood” movie, stars in the film. Linklater said she chose to be an actress based on the need to escape herself and get into the mindset of others.
“I think a big theme of this movie that everyone can relate to is the aftermath of someone dying,” Linklater said. “That is something many of us have been through already or will go through and no one really knows the right way to deal with it.”
Jordan Buckley, co-director of the Lost River Film Fest, said the Cinema Club is grateful to be able to show the director’s cut of “When We Burn Out” because it was shot in San Marcos and highlights local culture.
“I think (the film) is a momentous capturing,” Buckley said. “It really captures our moment in this culture. It’s a true zeitgeist.”
There will be a few special events surrounding the screening of the film.
James Hand, musician and actor in the film, will be performing a few acoustic songs before the screening. Following the film, there will be a psychedelic honky-tonk concert co-sponsored by KTSW 89.9 at Cheatham Street Warehouse.
The director’s cut of the film will be screened at 7 p.m. Nov. 3 at Wonder World Park.