Where Everything Everywhere All At Once helped break new ground in cinematic representation, all with a splatter of sci-fi absurdity and some washing machines, a new production company European Hope Do the same for the TV. This time, it has the help of a magical refrigerator.
Introducing Amsterdam-based Independent Explorers, founded by partners George Anthony Gottl and Anton van der Linden, focusing on diversity and inclusion, and SXSW Pilot of the series Marvin?.
Quirky comedy filmed in the Dutch capital, Marvin? Follow Dave (Cameron Tama) and Sam (Sarah Rose), two young friends grappling with economic anxiety, queerness, and substance abuse. Sam – increasingly dependent on the marijuana she smokes – has been sleeping on Dave’s couch for over a year. Meanwhile, Dave struggles with a dead-end job and identity issues as the biracial gay son of an overbearing Indian mother. But life-changing assistance came — sort of — in the form of a new refrigerator (soon to be named Marvin) that embodied their dream of giving them anything you want.
“It’s like a magical coming out story,” said Gottl, a native Los Angeles native who years ago moved to Amsterdam while working at Nike (he was previously the company’s creative director in Oregon).
“Now more than ever we need to tell the stories of underrepresented people and for us the queer community is something we are very passionate about. We want to make sure that these are not being adequately Represents stories that go viral and are loved. Humor is a great tool.”
Pilot episode was filmed, written and edited by Vander Linden, whose experience in film Mostly in commercials and music videos (he shoots videos for Limp Bizkit, Headhunterz, Coca Cola and Bloomingdales to name a few).
“But throughout my career I’ve always had these little stories and wacky characters, and then when COVID hit, I’ve always had that time, so started writing this series,” he said. Ultimately, these ideas evolved into Marvin?, with van der Linden drawing on his own upbringing of “ashamed of being gay” and drug addiction. “It just morphed into this big coming out story and the discovery of self-identity,” he said.
20 minutes of the Marvin pilot? — Screened as part of an SXSW standalone TV pilot program alongside six other projects — less a final product than a proof of concept designed to show the industry what Explorers of the Unfound can offer.
“It’s also really just about creating an atmosphere to show the comedy and the friendship between the characters,” says van der Linden, adding that – if the show is picked up – there are plans to include More scenes highlighting Dave and Sam’s backstory.
Beyond normalizing queer stories on screen, according to the two founders, part of Explorers of the Unfound’s central mission — as the company’s name suggests — It is about finding and supporting young talent. To pick Marvin, they turned to Instagram, drawing inspiration from hundreds of videos (for Sarah-Rose, the show marked her first screen work), and behind There was a very small young team camera (including a 21 year old technician who was in charge of lighting).
and Marvin ? Probably the first out, Gottl and van der Linden both have another TV concept in the works that they can’t discuss yet. But they claim there are already interested parties (and apparently have had discussions with Paramount about bringing Marvin into the series). Although television is their main focus, they say they have no objection to movies.
“But I don’t think the traditional way of doing it for the big screen is necessarily,” Gottl said, explaining that the main purpose is to make their content available anywhere and on all platforms, and that creators Stories can grab the attention of youth viewers and other digital natives who “raised up on TikTok and overwhelmed by media.”
But whatever they do, it will be in the spirit of the company.
“We wanted to address very serious issues in a very human way, like life, laughing and crying,” Gottl said. “And our mission, as undiscovered seekers, is really to find the undiscovered and hopefully bring them to the forefront.”