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'Bellflower' director has do-it-yourself attitude

Charles Ealy

When Evan Glodell needed a flamethrower, he built it.

When he needed a tanklike car that looked like the one from "Mad Max," he built it.

And when he needed a special camera to provide an unusual look to his movie, he built it, too.

"It's just part of my skill set," says Glodell, the 31-year-old director, star and writer of "Bellflower."

"Ever since I was a kid, I built stuff as a hobby," he says. When he was a boy in Wisconsin, Glodell says, "I couldn't afford a special lens for my camcorder, so I built one. I just started collecting stuff and built it. And that's what I did when I came up with ideas about a camera that could serve the story and create a specific look" for "Bellflower."

The camera Glodell created is called the Coatwolf Model II, which is essentially a customized SI-2K digital cinema camera with vintage parts and special lenses. Glodell says the camera lets him better manipulate the depth of shots, subtly change colors and add a graininess to his images.

The flamethrower, the souped-up car and the special camera all add to the overall vibe of "Bellflower," which can be described as tracking an emotional apocalypse. And it's no coincidence that the vibe mimics the one in "Mad Max," which dealt with the aftermath of a literal apocalypse.

In fact, Woodrow and his best friend, Aiden (Tyler Dawson), make repeated references to "Mad Max" and the later "Road Warrior" throughout "Bellflower."

But though the look mimics "Mad Max," the emotional core of "Bellflower" is much more personal, Glodell says.

"I based the movie on a relationship that I went through when I was younger, which was both very good, then very bad in the second half," he says. "I had a particularly hard time figuring out what had happened. So I decided to make this movie."

But Glodell says he hopes people don't take the movie literally. "In my mind, Woodrow is a twisted version of me — slightly modified, as opposed to twisted as insane."

When it's suggested that the movie has a David Lynch feel because some things can be seen as real and others as imagined, Glodell hesitates. He says he doesn't want to explain "Bellflower," and he's reluctant to tell people how to view it.

"I guess I could say that it's not supposed to be taken at face value."

cealy@statesman.com; 445-3931