Sci-fi comedy The History of Future Folk documents the origin story of real-life NYC-based bluegrass duo Future Folk, a pair of bucket helmet-wearing aliens hailing from the comet-threatened planet Hondo.
General Trius -- aka Bill, as he's known on Earth -- came to this planet many years ago in search of a new home for his fellow Hondonians, but decided to stay after hearing music for the first time and becoming enamored with musical instruments and a beautiful Earth woman. But soon, his peaceful new life is disturbed by the appearance of another Hondonian -- the wonky Kevin, who, after failing to kill Trius, becomes his closest friend and ally.
Despite the sci-fi elements, The History of Future Folk is actually a story about love and friendship and, of course, the power of music. As Bill and Kevin work to save both Hondo and Earth, Bill struggles to keep his family together while Kevin attempts to woo a gorgeous policewoman. Nils d'Audlaire, who has never acted before this movie, plays Trius with real sincerity and naturalism, while Jay Klaitz (Kevin), a seasoned performer with Broadway, film, and TV credits, handles the comedic side of the film like a pro.
The LA Weekly preview of the film described it as a "cheapie" sci-fi flick, but honestly, this is the biggest micro-budget film I've seen in a long time, which is a testament to co-director Jeremy Kipp Walker's skills as a producer. While Future Folk fans wear homemade space suits made of buckets and duct tape, Trius and Kevin's costumes -- as well as the one made for the murderous space bounty hunter who shows up at the end -- are actually quite well designed. Co-directors John Anderson Mitchell and Walker only used a few locations, but some of them -- mostly the scenes in the space museum -- are pretty impressive given the financial constrains they had to work with. Outer space is talked about, but never shown, allowing Walker and Mitchell to tell their story without compromising the magic of the film.
Thankfully, Mitchell and Walker were careful to avoid getting too close to Flight of the Conchords territory, which something the ScreenAnarchy team was a bit nervous about going into the film. We became interested because of the FotC reference in the Los Angeles Film Festival preview notes, and the association makes sense; the movie also features a pair of attractive outsider musician-comedians living and performing in a more magical NYC than we're all used to, but the similarities pretty much end there.
The History of Future Folk is a sweet and charming little story that seems destined to become a cult favorite. You can also pick up Future Folk Vol. 1, Future Folk's debut album containing many of the fantastic (and hilarious) songs featured in the film.
Review originally published in slightly different form during the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2012. The History of Future Folk opens in New York City on Friday, May 31, before rolling out across the U.S. Visit the official site for more information..