Independent movies — Low-budget, not low quality

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Good movies don’t necessarily mean big budget, big stars and a famous director. Independent movies keep gaining popularity and influence, and now people know that in order to make a good movie a million dollar budget is not a must.

Film festivals are a good starting point for many good movies, and this year the LDS Film Festival revealed many talented works and directors. Most of them are low-budget and independent. “Dr. Smith and the Fantastic Castle” is one of the films. What differentiates this movie from others is that it is one of the few foreign movies that were presented at the festival. Another distinctive feature is that it took $650 and a total of one week of shooting and a month of editing.

“The advantages of a low-budget movie is that it’s fast, more natural and more flexible,” the director of the movie, Marco Lui, said. “The acting is more natural because there are not a lot of people involved, and it’s easier to change things in the movie and rearrange scenes, even in the last moment.”

Marco Lui and Virginia Ruspini in Dr. Smith and the Fantastic Castle. (Courtesy Marco Lui)

The only three heroes of the movie are Lui himself, his wife and Virginia Ruspini — a talented 14-year-old Italian singer and actress who plays Dr. Smith’s patient.

The story revolves around a charismatic doctor who tries to cure his young patient — a girl who prefers to live in an imaginary world with her imaginary friend because the world is full of pain and misunderstanding.

The main idea of the movie is having faith in dreams even despite the reality, even if everyone else says to stop living in a fantasy world.

“Our dreams become the reality,” Lui said.

He said that only believing in his dream made the movie possible.

“I wrote a script, directed and produced the movie. You don’t have to have a lot of money to make a movie,” Lui said.

This is Lui’s second movie that he presented at the LDS Film Festival. He said the hardest thing was by the end of every day he had to finish working on everything he shot that day.

The audience received Lui’s film well. The combination of comedy and drama made them laugh during the movie and think during the final scenes.

Lisa Allen, from Salem, Utah, volunteered at the festival and had a chance to see many movies.

“It was definitely among the better ones,” Allen said. “It was very interesting.”

“It was very well done,” Celeste Dobbin, a homemaker from Salt Lake City, said. “It’s witty, and the twist in the end is very interesting. I’m sure we will be talking about it on the way home.”

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