MARS (2010)

“A mumblecore sci-fi movie sounds like a bad joke, but this winning, sorta-animated comedy about three goofy astronauts headed to the red planet is a lot more than that, effectively utilizing both droll comedy and visual humor…”
– Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine (chosen as a critic’s pick)

82 minutes
Written and Directed by Geoff Marslett

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A new space race is born between NASA and the ESA when Charlie Brownsville, Hank Morrison, and Dr. Casey Cook compete against an artificially intelligent robot to find out what’s up there on the red planet. ‘Mars’ follows these three astronauts on the first manned mission to our galactic neighbor. On the way they experience life threatening accidents, self doubts, obnoxious reporters, and the boredom of extended space travel.

This romantic comedy is told in the playful style of a graphic novel- using a unique animation process that director Geoff Marslett developed specifically for the film. Underneath the silliness Mars is also an exploration of exploration. Why do we want to know what is out there? How do we react to what we find? Is it really that important? And where does love fit into the whole thing?

Awards & Press

Winner “Best Animated Film” – San Francisco Independent Film Festival

• “(Critics’ Pick!) A mumblecore sci-fi movie sounds like a bad joke, but this winning, sorta-animated comedy about three goofy astronauts headed to the red planet is a lot more than that, effectively utilizing both droll comedy and visual humor…” – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine

• “Imaginative! Like MOON before it, MARS signals an opening up of the space movie frontier to more intimate types of journeys.” – Benjamin Sutton, The L Magazine

• “Marslett struck upon a unique look and tone, spacey, soothing and strange… a memorably odd, mellow affair.” – Michelle Orange, The Village Voice

• “(Rating: ****) Fresh and vibrant! MARS isn’t just visually striking, it’s also full of humour, heart and super-cute cartoon Martians.” – Sarah Cohen, Time Out London

• “MARS contains many unique ingredients beyond special effects, from Marslett’s endearingly offbeat vision of a snarky near future to the amusingly casual dialogue.” – Eric Kohn, The Wall Street Journal

• “(Grade: A-) Its good-natured buoyancy proves hard to resist.” – Leonard Pierce, The A.V. Club

• “MARS offers an innovative approach to making a space drama on a miniscule budget” -Peter Simek, D Magazine

Winner jury award for narrative ambition – Indie Memphis

• “I am awe of writer-director Geoff Marslett also, because I cannot imagine how tedious and painstaking the rotoscoping must have been on Mars. All I can say is that his efforts paid off.” -Don Simpson, Smells Like Screen Spirit

• “Chances are, if you’ve seen a film by Austin independent filmmaker Geoff Marslett, you have not seen anything like it before. And if you’ve never seen any of his films, you are in for a surprise.” -Pierre Bertrand, Austin American Statesmen

• “It’s a visually stunning piece told in the playful style of a graphic novel using a unique animation process that Marslett developed specifically for the film.” -Robyn Chelsea-Seifert, San Fransico Examiner

• “I showed up for the screening a few minutes late, rushed off my feet and stressed out and walked out with a smile on my face. My friends and I found ourselves raving about the movie for the rest of the day.” – Jose Garcia, Meme Therapy

• “Maintaining an amiable and innocently awed tone” – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times

• “Perhaps the most unique feature was Geoff Marslett’s MARS.” – Thomas Britt, Pop Matters

• “What makes Mars so much fun is the cheery, upbeat tone. Marslett developed his own rotoscoping technique to create a comic book feel full of primary colours as well as some straightforward animation amongst a lot of green screen work. A consistently funny script and likeable performances not only from the leads but the whole supporting cast” – Justin Bateman, Screen Jabber

• “One movie I’m certain will be among the weekend’s best is the slacker science-fiction/love-story mini-epic, “Mars”; I feel even more confident in stating that this is the first cut-price space-exploration feature ever produced in Austin, Texas.” – John Beifuss, The Bloodshot Eye

• “After finishing its orbit around the fest circuit, “Mars” should land in arthouse venues, and may achieve minor cult status on ancillary.” – Leslie Felperin, Variety

• “If you have a penchant for something quirky and different, Mars stands out as a non-traditional animated feature that combines elements of slacker comedies, science fiction and romance in a way few films can manage.” – Tim Irwin, Truly Moving Pictures

• “the classic themes of love, romance, and exploration alongside the modern desire to experience the depths of the cosmos. All of these superficially unrelated things are woven together with surprising effortlessness in Marslett’s newest animated feature, Mars.” – Belinda Acosta, Austin Chronicle

• “The film has a meditative, melancholy quality. It’s a science fiction film set in the near future, but there aren’t any explosions or intricate action sequences. It’s a love story at its heart, more mindful affection than mind-blowing effects.” – Michael Calore, Wired

• “(Rating: ***)Take a few minutes after watching the film to talk it over with some friends. It’s one of those rare flicks that means a lot, but doesn’t feel pretentious. I felt like that as I was exploring the cosmos, I was also exploring previously uncharted territory with the main characters. Progression like that deserves some attention.” – Filmbaylaya, San Francisco

Cast & Crew

written and directed by GEOFF MARSLETT

MARK DUPLASS (Humpday, The Puffy Chair, Greenberg, Cyrus)
PAUL GORDON (The Happy Poet, Saturday Morning Massacre)
CYNTHIA WATROS (LOST, The Drew Carey Show)
MICHAEL DOLAN (Biloxi Blues, Hamburger Hill)
LIZA WEIL (The Gilmore Girls)
JAMES KOCHALKA (musician and comic artist)
HOWE GELB (Giant Sand)
KINKY FRIEDMAN (musician, politician, actor)

as well as appearances by:
Don Hertzfeldt, Nicole Atkins, Jonna Juul-Hansen, Charissa Allen, Elena Araoz, Jerm Pollet, and Garry Peters.

soundtrack written by Howe Gelb and including performances by Howe Gelb, Giant Sand, Neko Case, Victoria Williams, Jason Lytle, Kristen Hersh, John Convertino, Bill Elm, Mark Smoot, Nic Koller, and more.


for complete credits go to our IMDB PAGE.

Previous Screenings

SXSW Film Festival March 2010, Austin, Texas
Maryland Film Festival May 2010, Baltimore, Maryland
BAMcinemaFEST June 2010, Brooklyn, New York
Salt Lake City Film Festival August 2010, Salt Lake City, Utah
Flagstaff Film Festival August 2010, Flagstaff, Arizona
Nevada City Film Festival August 2010, Nevada City, California
Chesapeake Film Festival September 2010, Eastern Shore of Maryland
Dallas Video Fest September 2010, Dallas, Texas – honorable mention for Narrative Feature Competition
Sidewalk Moving Pictures Festival September 2010, Birmingham, Alabama
The Lund International Fantastic Fest September 2010, Lund, Sweden
Best of Lund International Fantastic Fest October 2010, Copenhagen, Denmark
Bendfilm October 2010, Bend, Oregon

Tucson Film and Music Festival October 2010, Tucson, Arizona – Closing Night Film
Anaheim International Film Festival October 2010, Anaheim, California
Sitges Festival International de Cinema Fantastic de Catalunya October 2010, Sitges, Spain
BFI London Film Festival October 2010, London, England
Heartland Truly Moving Pictures Festival October 2010, Indianapolis, Indiana
Indie Memphis October 2010, Memphis, Tennessee – winner jury award for narrative ambition
Holland Animation Festival November 2010, in Utrecht, Holland
Cucalorus Film Festival November 2010, Wilmington, North Carolina
Utopiales Festival November 2010, Nantes, France
Expotoons International Animation Festival December 2010, Buenos Aires, Argentina
reRun Gastropub Theatre Brooklyn, New York – ran week of 3-9, 2010

San Francisco Independent Film Festival Feb. 2011 – San Francisco, CA
The Texas Theater Dallas, TX – Dallas, TX – ran week of Feb 11-18, 2011
Austin Film Society Best of the Fests Feb. 2011 – Alamo Drafthouse, Austin, TX
Real Art Ways Feb. 2011 – Hartford, Connecticut
!f Istanbul International Independent Film Festival Feb. 2011 – Istanbul, Turkey
MARS was also be part of their !f2: Live from Istanbul (shown in 26 cities in the region) and Geoff headed up a workshop for festival participants
Monstra Festival de Animacao de Lisboa March 2011 – Lisbon, Portugal
Geoff also co-taught a workshop as part of the festival
Alamo Ritz March 7-9, 2011 – Austin, TX
limited run right at the Alamo Drafthouse​
Future Film Festival Bologna, Italy, April 21
The Atlanta Film Festival Atlanta, GA, May 3 and May 6
Modern Film Fest in Kannapolis, NC, September 30th


The Daily Texan - MARS Look

Christmas Satellite