WORM and Aquaphobia

MEET THE FILMMAKER: David Quakenbush.

One of Denver’s most unique and respected filmmakers, David screens two creative works, WORM  and Aquaphobia, at October 18th’s The Emerging Filmmakers Project (EFP) at Denver’s Bug Theatre. EFP Host Patrick Sheridan had a chance to chat with David about his latest projects.

PS: So, what prompted you to pursue filmmaking?


DQ: I’ve been a visual storyteller my entire life. As a child, while one of my brothers was off becoming an *actual* rocket scientist, I would instead build rocketship sets in my playroom.

Flash forward to the mid 2000’s, I was a graphic designer and web guru at the time. It was one of those snowy spring days, where the Denver sky drops three feet of slush and the city shuts down. I realized I had iMovie on my new MacBook, and I spent the entire day in front of the fireplace cutting a music video where Robbie the Robot from Forbidden Planet sings “Jump Around” by house of pain. From that moment on I couldn’t stop building projects.

I got a handy cam, shot thousands of hours of terrible footage, then hundreds of hours of less terrible footage. My wife was convinced that I had turned into “Mr. Brainwash” from Exit Through the Gift Shop. I kept outgrowing my editing software, and upgraded my way through Apple’s entire post-production product line. Then film school. Then a production job. Now this!

I dream in three-act structure, and I feel completely lost if there isn’t a camera in my hands. This isn’t something I do. This is what I am.

PS: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?

DQ: EFP has been gracious enough to screen two of my projects: WORM and Aquaphobia. These are both premieres of brand new work.

WORM was my first adventure directing someone else’s script (Alan August wrote WORM). It’s about a bedridden man with a talking tapeworm, and the frustrations of his caretaker sister. It’s a grotesque little story that I found delightful, and I also wanted to see what that path is like — directing a more “commercial” narrative work without having written every word of text.  (Note: For a behind the scenes look at WORM, click here.)

Aquaphobia is an art film. It started out as three lines of bad poetry in last year’s journal, which I was inspired to elaborate upon after assisting New York based filmmaker Ed Bowes with one of his projects last summer. I picked up several non-traditional production approaches from that experience, and also felt courageous and inspired to follow a path away from strict narrative work and into a more creative direction.

Aquaphobia extends a few stylistic themes I’ve been developing for several years: dynamic fabric motion, time-ramping and manipulation, painting actresses white and selectively over-exposing them, contrasting real vs stylized space, flash edits/jump cuts, minimalist color palettes, abstracted voiceover, and nudging Sex and Violence as closely as possible to each other without getting gory or garish.

PS: What are your plans for these amazing works?

DQ: I plan on releasing them both on the internet at some point, and helping them find their audiences there. I’m not opposed to other forms of distribution, but I’m done paying for the privilege of being rejected at various festivals — too much work for too few butts in seats. In general I am all about creating stunning content and sharing it with people.

PS: What else are you working on these days?

DQ: Oh, all kinds of interesting things. Stay tuned on facebook  or keep an eye on wedrinkitblack.com.

PS: Thanks, David. See you again on the 18th!