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L.A. Film Fest: New take on end of humanity in 'Goodbye World'

June 14, 2013|By Dana Ferguson
  • From left, Kerry Bishe as Lily, Ben McKenzie as Nick, Adrian Grenier as James, Gaby Hoffmann as Laura, Mark Webber as Benji, McKenna Grace as Hannah, Scott Mescudi (aka Kid Cudi) as Lev and Remy Nozik as Ariel in "Goodbye World."
From left, Kerry Bishe as Lily, Ben McKenzie as Nick, Adrian Grenier as James,… (Gather Films )

After watching the first season of the television series “The Walking Dead,” Denis Henry Hennelly had an epiphany. He decided he should make an apocalypse movie.

Though not the first to pursue such a plot line, the screenwriter and director of “Goodbye World" set out to do it differently.

In order to separate himself from the 20-plus apocalypse films released since 2010, Hennelly set up a plot line that focuses on a group removed from the apocalypse. This angle made the film less an apocalypse movie and more a relatable narrative for viewers, he said.

CHEAT SHEET: Los Angeles Film Festival 2013

"Goodbye World" will be screened Saturday and next week at the Los Angeles Film Festival 2013.

“Right now at any moment there are apocalypses going on all around us,” Hennelly said. “ And we are super glib, just like these characters, sitting down and drinking wine with our dinner while right next to us someone’s world is falling apart.”

In his movie, a text message reading “Goodbye World” pops up on the screens of every phone on Earth. Then a virus connected to the message infects cellphones and computers, leaving the world without technology. Without the technology that seemingly kept the world running, societies collapse and only the fittest survive. Meanwhile at a mountaintop home in California, a group of family and friends hide out with a fully stocked pantry, drinking wine and seeing only brief glimpses of the chaos from above.

Gaby Hoffmann portrays Laura, one of the characters living out the world’s end on top of the mountain. A native New Yorker, Hoffmann said she’s seen communities come together in the midst of tragedy, mentioning the Sept. 11 attacks and the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy as examples.

“It’s really nice to be part of a post-tragedy,” Hoffmann said.  “It’s just too bad that’s what it takes.”

As natural disasters and tragic events continue to make headlines, Hennelly said, apocalypses, or individual perceptions of the world ending, make this film relatable. Hoffmann agreed, but said people can only take so much emotional impact.

“You have to sort of shut yourself down unless you’re going to throw yourself into it,” Hoffmann said.

In many ways Hoffmann said the characters in “Goodbye World” are doing the right thing by isolating themselves.

“They’re saving themselves from the emotional shock,” she said. “And sometimes that’s just what you have to do.”

The Los Angeles Film Festival will screen “Goodbye World” 10 p.m. Saturday, June 15, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, and 9:40 p.m. Thursday, June 20.


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