Cyberdreams

A ragtag group of Houston filmmakers eye the future, and make a hit in Dallas

Thomson says the screenplay was inspired by the fiction of cyberpunk pioneer William Gibson, the hard-boiled detective tales of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, and the music of veteran New York noise-rockers Sonic Youth. That, and the punk culture of Houston, which made a strong impression on Thomson when he moved here from Corpus Christi five years ago. "In Corpus, the punk culture was really nonexistent," he says. "Except for Dave, of course, who was kind of the city's designated punk. But here it's pretty prevalent, if you know the right people."

The film's soundtrack, by Houston-based punkers Pain Teens, beefs up the picture's subcultural credentials. The filmmakers were introduced to them by No Resistance's producer, Mike Schnieder, an employee at a Houston law firm. The band members liked the script so much that they contributed an album's worth of original music for nothing.

One problem that plagued the shoot was the logistics of low-budget casting: convincing a bunch of mostly nonprofessional actors who had agreed to work for free to show up in a designated location at the same time for several long hours of filming. When a group of actors who had agreed to play one of the film's violent street gangs, The Freemasons, didn't show up for shooting one day, producer Schnieder trotted down the block, walked into a local bar and asked if any of the tough-looking gentlemen inside would like to be in a movie. There were several takers, and they enjoyed themselves so much that they stayed on to appear in additional scenes shot weeks later.

And, of course, there were the sort of unexpected events that seemed terrifying at the time, but made for amusing anecdotes later -- like shooting a close-quarters gun battle in and around a parking garage and an apartment complex within walking distance of the 1992 Republican convention. "Somebody saw a bunch of young guys with guns and called the police and told them there was a gang fight in progress," recalls Rains, chuckling. "Four armed squad cars showed up to stop us. But when they realized we were shooting a movie, they asked if they could be in it."

"I guess that just goes to show that you can get away with pretty much any kind of nonsense if you have a camera in your hand," notes Thomson.

But once you move beyond fond memory, don't ask the filmmakers what they'll do next. They've been living with No Resistance for so long, and they're so busy being glad it's finally finished, that they haven't had time to plot their next step. "I think we're ready to move on to something different," says Thomson. "Something shot on film, I want to add. But you know, of course, if somebody were to offer us the chance to make this movie again with the proper funding, we might feel differently. For now, though, I'm so tired of looking at it that I'm just glad it's over."

Rains feels differently. "I had a great time, man," he says, sounding suspiciously like his cinematic alter-ego, Dij. "Shit, you know? I'd do it all over again for beer.

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