The year was 1997. The name of the film was “A Hamster’s Tale.” The shooting location was Marcus Rosentrater’s cousin’s house in nearby Littleton, Colorado, where 12 hamsters resided. The film starred Marcus and his cousins, who, at the time, all dreamed of growing up to become movie stuntmen. The film’s action-oriented plot allowed the actors to show off their skills – fighting, wrestling, jumping off the roof, jumping off the trampoline and jumping over furniture. Marcus was the film’s editor, using his family’s video camera, VCR and a CD Walkman to create the final product. When the 10-minute film was complete, the young actors and producer showed it to anyone who would watch and then started planning their next action flick.
From his first movies featuring Legos and Micro Machines to ones like “A Hamster’s Tale” to the videos he turned in for school assignments in high school, Marcus’ passion for film has been constant. When he moved to Atlanta in 2004, his first stop off the plane was to fill out a job application at Movies Worth Seeing, where he would eventually work for five years. “Pretty much everything good in my life in Atlanta has stemmed from that place,” he said.
This includes co-producing with co-worker Gideon Kennedy. So far, they’ve collaborated on three short films, including Clandestine, which has been shown at more than 30 film festivals, and are working on their first feature-length film. When Marcus realized there weren’t many venues in Atlanta for a film like Clandestine, which was made from archival footage, he decided to create a micro cinema and provide similiar films with a platform to be seen and shared. And that’s how Contraband Cinema, which hosted nine events in its first two seasons this past year, was born.
Contraband Cinema is a micro cinema safe house that brings the best local and international experimental films to Atlanta audiences.