EXCLUSIVE: Paris-based genre specialist Reel Suspects has boarded sales on Gary Huggins’ debut comedy feature Kick Me about a school counsellor whose night takes a comedic-nightmarish turn when he visits Kansas City, Kansas (KCK).
Santiago Vasquez plays the counsellor, who downplays his fears about visiting KCK, to please a prize student who hails from the city, the same night he has promised to surprise his daughter with a pet rabbit after a school concert.
As he crosses the state line from Kansas City, Missouri, his well-intentioned trip unravels when he falls into the crosshairs of a local warlord, setting him on a bizarre trip across the city.
Kick Me is Huggins’s debut feature.
It has taken the filmmaker, who hails from and lives in KCK, a decade to complete the work after it was originally shot in 2012 and selected for the Gotham (then IFP) Narrative Lab in 2013.
Huggins said his original intent had been to make a “quick, fun production” with Vasquez after their successful collaboration on the 2006 short film First Date, which played at Sundance, SXSW and France’s Clermond-Ferrand short film festival.
“Instead, a month of night shoots made everyone insane, the movie imploded and Kick Me began a ten-year crawl to completion interrupted by poverty, lethargy, tinkering, tampering, reshoots, pickups, putdowns, the untimely passing of five cast members and an unquenchable fire to finish the damn thing,” he explained.
The film finally world premiered at San Francisco’s Another Hole in the Head film festival in December and has recently been selected for Brazil’s Fantaspoa film festival, which kicks off this week.
Producers on the film are Betsy Gran and Leone Reeves.