TheCIL: You studied film and media at Berkeley. Were you making any films before school?
Owen: I’ve always been interested in media and film. I started making movies when I was a pretty young kid. Something that has always captured my imagination allowed me to communicate stories and complicated ideas to someone in an entertaining way.
TheCIL: Is there anyone you worked with there who you continue to work with?
Owen: Yeah, many of my friends in college were a lot of the ones who worked on Angels of Mercy, which is a feature film we’ve been working on for a couple of years now. The director, director of photography, and gaffer we're all friends of mine in school.
TheCIL: Can you share more about Angels of Mercy?
Owen: The film is a home invasion thriller. I’m trying to do a new take on disability commentary, and it may be one some people disagree with. Still, I think it’s important to have a dialogue going and a critical conversation about representation in the media. The story follows Zack, a computer security professional, and it follows his story as a group of eugenicists try to break into his house and “cure” him of his disability. Still, their definition of cure is pretty sinister.
It’s a horror movie, so there’s a bit of gore and all of that. But it’s fun. I like horror movies a lot because you’re able to address societal concerns in a way. When you live in fantasy and horror, especially, you can be critical of certain environments and societal norms. The bad guys’ modus operandi in the movie is to have their victims persuaded into suicide because they say that someone with a disability obviously has a reason to end their own life. And that’s something that’s definitely perpetuated in media, and we address it.
TheCIL: There were about 30 people involved in creating Angels of Mercy, which is pretty big for an independent film. How did the team come together?
Owen: The cool thing about making a film that involved disability is that it’s such a novel topic to Hollywood, so a lot of people were really interested in what we’re doing. If we were doing a more standard film, it might be different. A lot of people were really excited to talk to us. I feel like the disability community has a really awesome sense of community. We kind of talked to one person who would introduce us to someone else and went from there.
Angels of Mercy is expected to hit theaters in 2021.