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Primer
(Primer)
Shane CARRUTH

Theatrical release: February, 21st, 2007

USA - 2004 - Color - 1h16

Primer is set in the industrial park/suburban tract-home fringes of an unnamed contemporary city where two young engineers, Abe and Aaron, are members of a small group of men who work by day for a large corporation while conducting extracurricular experiments on their own time in a garage. While tweaking their current project, a device that reduces the apparent mass of any object placed inside it by blocking gravitational pull, they accidentally discover that it has some highly unexpected capabilities--ones that could enable them to do and to have seemingly anything they want. Taking advantage of this unique opportunity is the first challenge they face. Dealing with the consequences is the next.

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Q&A WITH DIRECTOR/WRITER SHANE CARRUTH:

Q: What was your inspiration for writing a script and how did the idea for this story come to you?

A: "It took about a year to write. I found myself reading a lot of books that had to do with discoveries. Whether it involved the history of the number zero or the invention of the transistor, two things stood out to me. First is that the discovery that turns out to be the most valuable is usually dismissed as a side-effect.
Second is that prototypes almost never include neon lights and chrome. I wanted to see a story play out that was more in line with the way real innovation takes place than I had seen on film before. I knew what I wanted to accomplish thematically well before the plot was devised. I was interested in how trust wears down between people when the stakes are raised and the complexity involved."

Q: Explain the relationship between Aaron, Abe, Robert and Philip.

A: "Like the majority of people that I know, these are guys that do one thing during the day and in their free time work on what they are passionate about. They have built a small business of selling error-checking devices for computers through mail order. However, they are constantly working on new ideas. They each take turns with a two month period where the group as a whole pursues the individual's idea. I have always imagined them as little kids in a club and the garage is their fort. They have a logo, a motto ("building the device that's missing most") and a set of rules for voting on purchases: Basically everything a six-year-old would think was cool about having his own company. Even the fact that they are constantly wearing ties comes from the image of prep school kids in uniforms that almost never fit their outdoor activities."

Q: This film is most accurately described as an intellectual thriller. Why was this the genre that you pursued when setting out to make a feature film?

A: I don't know if I ever chose a genre. I was interested in seeing the process of invention take place on a small, non-professional level and I knew thematically where I needed the story to go so those two things dictated the type of film it would be. It was really just a matter of setting up a premise and following it to a logical conclusion in an interesting way.


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