Low-budget charmer ‘Forever Into Space’ opens NJ International Film Festival

Kelly Sebastian and Oliver Fetter co-star in "Forever Into Space."

Kelly Sebastian and Oliver Fetter co-star in “Forever Into Space.”

“Forever Into Space,” the movie that will kick off this summer’s New Jersey International Film Festival in New Brunswick May 30, is facing an uphill battle in a couple of ways.

First of all, it has an extremely low budget. “This film was shot entirely in New York City in 2013 by seven people for $880.09,” viewers are told in a written message at the end of the movie.

But also, and maybe even more challengingly, the black-and-white film follows a half-year or so in the lives of four 20-somethings who, frankly, aren’t the most exciting people to spend a couple of hours with. They’re all struggling to get their lives together. And by struggling, I mean: working at dead-end jobs and complaining about it, or not even being able to land a dead-end job to complain about, or living off their parents, or living off people who are living off their parents. And drinking a lot, and doing drugs.

The central character, Audrey (Kelly Sebastian), is an aspiring blogger. And with her friends Lala (Julianna Pitt), Ollie (Oliver Fetter) and Aaron (Tyler Evan Rowe), she forms a kind of family. Surprisingly, there are no real romantic sparks among the four; it’s almost like they’re just bonding together against the onslaughts of the real world (virtually all the older, more “successful” characters in the movie are pretty loathsome).

The movie’s plot is as aimless as these slackers-with-cellphone-addictions are. And its ending is unsatisfying, as two of the characters get amazing, improbable good news at virtually the same time, putting an artificially hopeful spin on the whole thing.

And yet, the movie does have a sort of hypnotic charm, due mainly to writer/director/editor/producer/photographer Greg W. Locke’s ability to fill it with striking, immaculately composed images. Really, you’ll see more impressive shots here than you will in some movies made for 1,000 times the budget. Audrey loves New York City and, so, apparently, does Locke; he finds the beauty lurking in the dirty streets and the cold, imposing buildings.

“Forever Into Space” screens at 7 p.m. May 30 at Voorhees Hall at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. Sebastian and Locke will introduce the film and participate in a Q&A session. The short film “Soap” will also be shown. Tickets are $10 ($9 for students and seniors), with food (courtesy of Jimmy John’s of New Brunswick) included.

For the schedule of the the New Jersey International Film Festival, which continues through June 14, visit njfilmfest.com.

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