Short Film Profile


Roy and Karen, new parents living in suburbia, have a terrifying break-in. Roy decides it’s time to purchase a handgun for home defense, but soon becomes obsessed with the sense of power he feels when carrying the concealed weapon. Karen is hurt and resentful, as her husband isn’t holding up his end of the partnership. Roy continues to become more confrontational with a neighbor and strangers, leading down a path that may have tragic consequences.

Film notes

Gun is a character study about the influence of power on the human mind. Roy finds himself confronted with an age-old dilemma, how to protect his home and family. The simple act of buying a handgun unravels the complex fabric of Roy’s humanity, as good intentions give way to darker tendencies. Will Roy become the man he is trying to protect his family from?

Growing up in a small town in Kansas, my mother was a police officer and eventually I learned to shoot. The tremendous sense of empowerment and responsibility while handling a firearm always shocked me. Months before writing Gun I awoke one night to a noise outside our suburban home, my pregnant wife asleep next to me. Peering out into the darkness I realized how unprepared we were for the unthinkable. This compelled me to explore our alienation from our deeply embedded primal instincts and how we respond when they resurface.

Stylistically the DoP and I worked very closely to design a minimalist aesthetic. With films like Shame (2011) and The Robber (2010) as influences, our goal was to unfold the narrative in a constrained and judicious way. Setting boundaries kept us focused, allowing performance and story to drive the film. The concept was to draw the audience into Roy’s world while crafting a visual correlation to his desire for control.

The actor and I collaborated closely to create the character of Roy. We spent hours in preproduction exploring the character, Gabe pushing me to probe further at every turn of the process. Once we were shooting very little conversation was required. Gabe brought an immense richness to the character. He truly became Roy.

Cinema can offer us cathartic encounters to play out morally or ethically dangerous experiences in a safe space. Gun offers that space to the audience in a powerful way because it comes so close to home. We see a glimpse of ourselves in Roy’s struggle and come away with a simple question, are we really in control?




Copyright © 2012 Spencer Gillis

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Previous screenings

15 Aug – 25 Aug | Hollywood, United States

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Information on this profile is provided by the film owners and/or compiled from available sources | Profile updated 7 Feb 2014