Suspended in front of a green screen in the back room of a duplex in South Park is a helicopter. It's not life-size, mind you, but it's a helicopter nonetheless, and like almost everything that's gone into Antarctic... huh?, the video project put together by Matt Hoyt and Jason Sherry, it's made by hand.
Hoyt—who also writes, directs and produces— stars as Preston, a Southern California writer who takes a job in Antartica in hopes of finding some solitude, but instead finds a motley crew of characters and has all kinds of adventures. But Antarctic...huh? is more than a fish-out-of-frozen-water story. This is a cool art project, with the emphasis on "art" and a dedication to self-reliance and inventiveness.
Hoyt and Sherry have constructed a miniature Antarctica in their garage and essentially created a film studio in less than 600 square feet. The footage looks deliberately funky, and the plot, which features non-sequiturs, frozen cavemen and occasional social commentary, feels almost British. It's kind of like if Sid & Marty Kroft had made The Young Ones, the ground-breaking Brit show from the '80s. Hoyt says that's exactly what they're going for.
"We're well aware that the show is silly, but we've put a lot of thought into making it silly," he tells CityBeat. "We're just trying to do things on our own terms."
Sherry built some amazing models and props for the series, and that craftsmanship is at the heart of Antarctic...huh?
"It's kind of about the nature of creativity and self-exploration, but we turn that on its head," Hoyt says. "We're using digital technology to translate analog ideas. Jason and I built this world, and our friends have filled in the gaps."
Hoyt and Sherry have a lot of friends, including Pinback's Rob Crow, who appears in his first acting role, and Joe Plummer, who plays drums for The Shins and Modest Mouse, who contributes to the soundtrack.
This isn't the first time Hoyt has stepped behind the camera. One of the owners of the hip Starlite restaurant, he's made music videos for Pinback and Goblin Cock, and though he's billed as the director of Antarctic...huh?, he says it's a true collaboration with Sherry.
"He couldn't do it without me, and I couldn't do it without him," he says. "We're enmeshed together. He's like the co-director, but art director is the right title for him. Jason is directing the art."
Hoyt is aiming for a multi-platform distribution model for the show, but first they need to finish it. They launched a Kickstarter campaign with some nice swag available for donors, and a trailer can be found there and at antarctichuh.com. Additionally, tickets are on sale for the first big public screening, which will be held at The Casbah on Thursday, July 12, along with performances from Optiganally Yours and Tim Heidecker of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! as the headliner.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. You can follow Anders on Twitter at @anderswright.