When he’s not busy serving as the IT Program’s Director of Undergraduate Studies or in class teaching media technology to hundreds of students, you can find Brian Maurer behind the camera. And his most recent feature film has been racking up accolades across the country.
Maurer wrote and directed “In the Wake of Ire,” an independent feature film starring Gregory Sporleder, Whitey Morgan Cox, and Meagan English. It recently took home Best Lead Actor at the Love International Film Festival in Los Angeles, and the Best American Spectrum Feature Film Award from the Indy Film Festival in Indianapolis. He also took home a Programmer’s Choice award from the Magnolia Film Festival in Starksville, Miss. The filmmaker looks forward to upcoming festivals in New York, Texas, Montana, Iowa, and Virginia.
“Imagine a big Hollywood theater, except in the front row, there are these giant beanbags,” Maurer said of the Indy Film Fest. “Me and a few crew members are sitting on these beanbags. They start the award ceremony, and we’re sitting there just kind of not paying attention. And then they say ‘Best American Spectrum Feature Film: In the Wake of Ire’, and a big picture of my film is on screen. We just stopped and said, ‘Wait, what?’”
Film festivals select only a handful of features out of hundreds of submissions. To be selected is a rarity; to win is even more competitive.
The tagline for the film reads, “A man reunites with his estranged daughter after being separated for 20 years. She doesn’t recognize him, and he fails to tell her the truth of who he is. They grow dangerously close, as his daughter falls for him during a time of her own loneliness.” Maurer developed the script from a short story he wrote back when he served as editor for a fiction magazine in the early 2000s. The film was shot in the summer of 2016 and 2017. The trailer of the film can be found here.
“It’s all about the family reconciling past demons and finding a way to accept that it doesn’t really matter what happened. We choose where we go from there,” he explained.
Maurer and fellow IT Program faculty member Chip Gubera both work extensively as filmmakers on top of their work teaching media technology, film production, and audio-visual courses at Mizzou. He equates their films as akin to journal articles.
“It’s kind of our version of publishing,” he said. “Years of work go into development and writing, fundraising, production and post-production of these films.”
“What I’ve notice (at festivals) that’s been interesting, is the diversity of filmmakers attending, and hearing their paths through it. We all do something differently. None of us are (Steven) Spielberg where we wake up, call someone and in a few hours we have millions to make a film. And get paid to do it, no less.”
For the locals in Columbia, Maurer plans to host a public screening of the film on campus. The eventual goal is to have “In the Wake of Ire” picked up for wider distribution through SVOD services such as Amazon, Netflix or Hulu.
For now, he’s packed his bags and is prepared for the festivals ahead.