The Removals on VHS
a film by
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RELEASE DATE: 05/17/2016
This is not about nostalgia. This is not about the past. This is about how The Removals was meant to be viewed. On tape. The seed of an idea planted very long ago, that just happened to blossom in the digital era.
In fact, the Two Dollar Radio team had considered filming The Removals on a trusty old Sears VHS camcorder, circa 1989. Not out of fuzzy, generation-loss fondness for that era, but rather because those analog technologies heralded an age of false equivalencies, an age of binary code zeros and ones, as if information was neutral.
The Removals, we hope, reminds of what we have to lose if we are not vigilant. The slow, contemplative medium of VHS is designed to make that fact ring in your ears.
Welcome to The Removals as it was meant to be viewed.
Ann Arbor, November 2016
"Simultaneously occupies a number of bold artistic territories. It’s a speculative work about an underground organization revisiting and re-enacting moments from history to change society to their own end; it’s a paranoid thriller about members of that organization growing disenchanted with it; and it’s about the troubles can come when you attempt to revisit the past. (In this film there are echoes of everything from Charlie Kaufman’s film Synecdoche, New York to Tom McCarthy’s novel Remainder.)
—Vol. 1 Brooklyn
Is it still a revolution if no one notices it happening?
Part-thriller, part-nightmarish examination of the widening gap between originality and technology, The Removals imagines where we go from here.
A secretive, nefarious agency seeks to control the culture. They do this by covertly staging reproductions of everyday events, and by so doing, undermining the moment’s originality and currency. Society is then left to puzzle over what might be real, and what is fake. The agency employs symbols—like the fascists, like imperial powers of the past—notably a red cone, to plant their flag upon the moment.
Two agents, Kathryn and Mason, exhausted by the toll each removal has taken from them, quietly, and then overtly, set out to undermine the agency.
Haunting, engaging, and with a ferocity of vision that calls to mind the cerebral thrillers of Shane Carruth, David Lynch, or Andrei Tarkovsky, Nicholas Rombes’s directorial debut is a spellbinding new work and apt analogy for the wormhole where modern social communication leads.
"An intensely visual film... There is so much depth in this science fiction, dissecting notions of individuality versus group thought, originality versus duplication and the complex sentiments in the development of a loving relationship."
—The Columbus Alive
"Two Dollar Radio Launches Micro-Budget Film Division with Rombes Script, The Removals."
Read the original story, by Nicholas Rombes, that inspired the film, in Berfois.
Writer & Director
Nicholas Rombes is author of The Blue Velvet Project (Filmmaker Magazine) and Ramones (volume #20 in the 33 1/3 series). His writing has appeared in The Believer, The Rumpus, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and 3:AM Magazine. He has bunkers in Detroit, Michigan and Antofagasta, Chile.
MILLY SANDERS — Kathryn
JEFF WOOD — Mason
JOE JUSTUS — Bronson
SCOTT MCCLANAHAN — The Accountant
ANDREW SENSENIG — Casey
In Order of Appearance
NICHOLAS ROMBES — Lab Engineer #1
ERIC OBENAUF — Lab Engineer #2
PETER HILLE — The Removed One
BRETT GREGORY — The Remover
KENNY STIEGELE — Driver
SANDY TANGUAY — Greenhouse Indoctrinator #1
PABLO TANGUAY — Greenhouse Indoctrinator #2
LACHLAN SINCLAIR LIPSCOMB — Greenhouse Audience Member #1
JESSI WALKER — Greenhouse Audience Member #2
FRANCESCA MARIE POLISENO — Greenhouse Audience Member #3
ANDREW MILLER — Greenhouse Audience Member #4
MACEO OBENAUF — Sparkler Child #1
RIO OBENAUF — Sparkler Child #2
MADDY ROMBES — Vintage Store Customer #1
STEVE KERN — Vintage Store Customer #2
WENDY KERN — Vintage Store Clerk
TIM PITTS — Greenhouse Reenactor at Table
MOLLY DELANEY — Greenhouse Kathryn Reenactor
ERIC OBENAUF — Greenhouse Mason Reenactor
BRETT GREGORY — Greenhouse Cone Revealor
NICHOLAS ROMBES — Filter Factory Manager
DAVID FRICKE — Bartender
BLAKE VOLK — Jukebox Man #1
JOHN SCHAAF — Jukebox Man #2
STEPHEN MANNING — Park of Roses Man #1
JONATHAN MANNING — Park of Roses Man #2
KRISTEN GOOD — Rebecca
GEMMA DE CHOISY — Kathryn #2
TERRANCE WEDIN — Mason #2
JULIET ESCORIA — Woman Placing Red Dots