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Indie throwback: NM-filmed ‘Cowboy Drifter’ reminds writer of ’50s ,’60s movies

18 days.

That’s the amount of time Chuck Carrington and crew had to film the independent feature “Cowboy Drifter.”

Production took place in Belen and Albuquerque.

“We ran into difficulties, and every day was an adventure,” he says. “(Director) Michael Lange did an amazing job. We didn’t film one day over 12 hours. We got all the shots we needed, and we still managed completing on time.”

Carrington wrote and stars in the film.

“Cowboy Drifter” follows the life of Caskie Jones, played by Carrington.

When events transpire that force the Jones to hit the road in search of his father, he gets more than he bargained for.

Tanner Wilde is a 17-year-old singing and guitar-playing prodigy. When Jones learns that Wilde is much more than that, he’s forced to confront his past head-on for the first time. Though it remains to be seen if he can quell his own demons, perhaps he can help redeem someone else he’s come to love. Jones represents the ultimate anti-hero. He’s a flawed but passionate, humorous but dark human being whose life turns suddenly.

The film also stars Aubrey Peeples, Lynn Collins and Chelcie Ross.

“The film is a throwback to the ’50s and ’60s, films like ‘Cool Hand Luke,’ ” Carrington says. “Audiences aren’t sure if the protagonist is actually a protagonist. I wanted to take the character to a new level.”

Carrington will travel to Santa Fe to be part of the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, in which “Cowboy Drifter” screens at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, at The Screen on the campus of Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

Carrington decided to bring the production to New Mexico for two reasons.

“It was perfect for the script, and we needed a place for this road movie,” he says. “In the film, Caskie goes to New Mexico. The topography was perfect, and we needed a place like Belen. Not a lot of people are there, and it has a desert landscape. The second reason is the tax credit. For a film with a $1 million budget, the tax credit helped our money go a lot further.”

Carrington is also humbled to have an incredible soundtrack.

It features The Revivalists and the smash hit “Wish I Knew You,” as well as John Hiatt, Keb’ Mo’, The White Buffalo, The North Mississippi Allstars, Shakey Graves, and Amy Helm (daughter of The Band’s Levon Helm).

“All of this is a dream come true for me,” Carrington says. “It’s difficult for independent film to get some traction. I’m proud of this film.”

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ABQjournal.com. Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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