This summer's Traverse City Film Festival will feature some movies made in a style you may never have heard about, called "mumblecore." Hollywood has always prided itself on slick and clever dialogue that makes us all say, "I wish I would have said that." But over the last six years or so, many films have been made that feature casual, informal, even lazy dialogue.
These mumblecore films are usually shot in a documentary style with digital video. Their budgets are tiny. Usually, a low-budget feature-length film costs between one and three million dollars. However, many mumblecore films cost as little as fifteen hundred dollars. Here's a scene from a mumblecore hit that will be shown in Traverse City this summer. It's called "Humpday." Here, Ben apologizes to his wife for his college buddy Andrew showing up unannounced at their front door.
Ben: I just want to say for the record, I had no idea he was coming. He just does this.
Anna: Yeah, no ...
Ben: I'm sorry.
Anna: ... I kind of assumed you would have told me if you had a friend who was going to show up at 2 in the morning. (Laughs)
Ben: (laughs) I'm sorry.
Anna: Oh, my God.
Ben: He's not normally this hyper. He'll settle down. He just gets really excited. He's like a puppy. He's like ...
Andrew: (From behind door) You guys naked in there?
Ben: Hey man, gettin' your bed ready. Come on in.
Andrew: (Enters) Oh, I love the hot water shower!
Austin, Texas has been a hotbed of mumblecore. Film writer Chris Garcia, of the Austin American-Statesman, believes the movement is already starting to run its course.
"They're still making these films but these filmmakers are outgrowing it quite fast because it was just a matter of circumstances that these films kind of looked and sounded that way," says Garcia. "Now that these filmmakers are kind of moving forward they're learning to tighten their scripts a little bit more."
But, many film fans are just starting to hear about mumblecore. And the organizers of the Traverse City Film Festival have seen fit to book two movies by mumblecore director Robert Byington. It's the first time the festival has featured two titles by one director.