Rocket City Shakedown: Celebrating Alabama’s Nerd Capital

image1.JPG11754293_10103366960466305_7626611451689177787_oHuntsville is known for a lot of awesome things from building rockets to being a growing tech and innovation city, but one thing it might be in the not so distant future is a filmmaking destination!  

Our friend Ben Stark is behind the upcoming short film Rocket City Shakedown, he tells us a bit about the story behind it and what to expect in this guest article.

Growing up in Huntsville as a geek hasn’t always been the communal experience it is now.

When I was a kid, my comic book shop was Jennings, near Leeman Ferry. I had a small group of friends I talked about comics with. I became a movie nerd by visiting Family Video and Blockbuster Video on Bailey Cove, but never found much of a local film geek community. When I went to the University of Alabama, I became more and more of a film nerd – even joining up with some friends to create a website that’s all about film geekdom.

As often happens with geek life, I eventually transformed from an observer into a creator, and I started making films in 2005. Since then, I’ve made a number of films – some of them more geeky than others. I’ll admit I wish my films reflected my nerdy side more, but budget limits me now the same way a lack of drawing ability limited me when I wanted to become a comic book artist as a kid! Thankfully, my home town finally gave me an outlet to let my geek flag fly, and a newfound group of movie nerd friends helped make that happen.

I think it’s safe to say that Huntsville is officially a geek town, and I’m so happy about that. We have embraced our nerdy side. It’s always been there, after all: Tech geeks, scientists, engineers, doctors, students, and teachers make up the fabric of our town. In part, it was this realization that inspired me to make a movie about my home town. After living here for most of my life, I set out to make a movie about Huntsville, and poured as much of my geekiness into it as possible. To make that happen, I would need the help of some fellow North Alabama movie geeks, including Director of Photography Austin Tyler Martin, Production Designer Elissa Bedwell, Hair & Makeup Artist LuAnne Hardee, Assistant Director Elizabeth Hagale, Producer H. Andrew Hall, and actors Lincoln Greer, Julie Haught, and Danny Vinson, who has acted in films like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Talladega Nights.

The fruit of our labors is Rocket City Shakedown, a short film about an eccentric loner who thinks he’s found a conspiracy in Huntsville. All of the sensational stories that we all heard about while growing up here – stories about missiles being buried in the mountains, or the town being a target of nuclear strikes, or clandestine military operations… They all informed Rocket City Shakedown. It was so exciting to create this alternate reality of Huntsville alongside my movie nerd friends!

On February 18, all sorts of Huntsville geeks – beer geeks, local music beeks, film geeks – will get together to celebrate Huntsville. We’re premiering Rocket City Shakedown at Straight to Ale in Campus 805 (Link: and it’s going

to be an incredible night. The film features music from several local music acts, and the event will showcase live performances from Gabe Larose, Complex Flavor, The Wolves of Chernobyl, Them Damn Dogs, and ThunderKrotch.

The entire cast and crew of Rocket City Shakedown invite our fellow geeks to come hang out with us as we enjoy Huntsville beer, Huntsville music, and Huntsville cinema.

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