GLENS FALLS — Dave said he made a maze.
“I built something. If I could just finish it, it would be great or real,” the character tells a filmmaker at the opening of the quirky comedy-horror cult-like film that was a huge hit on opening day of this weekend’s Adirondack Film Festival in Glens Falls. “Tertiarily, I might be responsible for the people who died, tertiarily.”
The first film on Friday’s film festival schedule, “Dave Made a Maze,” kicked things off at 11 a.m. and organizers had to add overflow seating.
“We sold out of both screenings at the 190 Grille this morning,” said Chad Rabinovitz, the festival organizer who is the producing artistic director for the Adirondack Theatre Festival.
Dave’s maze is a labyrinth of cyclonic proportions that takes on a cardboard life of its own. Regenerating in his apartment living room, monstrous caverns and passages are packed with cardboard, head-chopping buzz saws, origami flying beetles (or maybe bats?) and other critters that land on backs, compounding the traps and terrors at every paper turn.
There’s a buff cardboard-headed minatour and an organic temptress that lures Dave into her womb, where he loses his human flesh hand to a cardboard replacement.
“Don’t go in there,” he yells to the others, ripping off a black rubber glove and revealing his cardboard-squared fingers.
And perhaps the spinning chrysalis might be the weapon to fell this house of cards.
Co-written by Bill Watterson and Steve Sears, directed by Watterson and produced by John Charles Meyer, “Dave Made a Maze” is taking the film festival circuit by storm and winning awards along the way.
“We’ve been to 53 festivals in nine months,” Meyer said, adding that their world premiere was at Slamdance in Park City, Utah.
The entire film was shot in a box in a room in an apartment that would only hold two sets at a time, and they had 28 different sets.
“We used at least 30,000 square feet of cardboard, 100 percent of which was reused/scrap cardboard donated by American Apparel and Solar City. American Apparel allowed us to raid their stacks of recyclables for a single load, and we drove off with a 14-foot U-Haul truck filled to the ceiling, feeling like we’d gotten away with murder,” Meyer said. “Three weeks later, the art director came to me and said, ‘Dude, we’re gonna run out of cardboard.’ ”
Meyer added: “Solar City, conveniently located next door to our shooting space, graciously offered to let us raid their cardboard recycling dumpster. That’s how every day of mine started from that point forward: dumpster-diving,” Meyer said. “The writer and I spent a lot of time wielding box cutters and glue guns, as did many other crew members for whom it was not part of the job description. Anyone with down time was asked to go help the art department, as they were always in need of extra hands. We liked to say, ‘If you don’t have glue gun burns, you didn’t work on this movie.’ ”
“Dave Made a Maze” screens again at 5 p.m. Saturday at 190 Grille 2.