Seth Savoy is making a big statement in his feature film debut Echo Boomers. His crime drama speaks to a generation that is struggling, not only financially, but struggling to separate themselves from becoming an echo of their parents.
“We talked about this on set a lot and we read that [CNBC] article about how it’s like we’re echoes and we kind of felt that that was a little derogatory. And so our definition for that on set was an “echo boomer” is a derogatory term for a millennial who has a degree but can’t get a job. And that kind of sparked this title, which I don’t know if that definition is out in the world but that’s definitely the definition we went with.”
Echo Boomers which stars Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon, Alex Pettyfer, and Patrick Schwarzenegger, was inspired by local headlines of similar break-ins in the Chicago area at that time. It follows a group of college students fed up with the student loan system who break into the homes of the wealthiest people in Chicago. Seth took the script to Sundance, where he won an independent pitch competition, capturing industry attention.
“I’ve been working on this one for seven years. So, to actually let it out into the world, it’s really a big weight off of my shoulders and I think it ended up exactly how I want it so I’m really happy with it… I would describe it as a really fun and flashy movie. And underneath that mask is political commentary. Some of the main inspirations for it was Ocean’s 11 and The Bling Ring. It’s a grittier version of The Bling Ring.”
Seth found his love for writing and directing through the theater. Since then, he’s made multiple award-winning short films that have screened at more than 65 film festivals around the world. Outside of film, Seth has an extensive background in music videos, working with artists such as Twista, Mike Jones, and Asher Roth. He has also directed creative campaigns for prestigious companies including the New York City Ballet.
“When I started directing theater plays, I started to realize that when you perform on stage, there are these moments. Let’s say on opening night, the first scene will just blow you away and the other nights that are performed you can’t hold that performance. Like once you see it, you can’t keep it. And so I really started to fall in love with film once I realized that the only way that you can capture these kinds of performances in the theater is to actually film them and bring them to life.”
Despite his passion for filmmaking, Seth also felt the hardships of the generation weighing him down, just like his characters in Echo Boomers.
“I graduated from Colombia College Chicago in 2013, I just finished film school and I was in a pretty good amount of debt, and I got to the finish line and realized that there’s no shortage of filmmakers and I kind of have this like angst and frustration about it because I felt like I played by the rules and I did everything I’m supposed to do. And then around that time, there were these articles in Chicago about these kids that were busting in houses. And I can, weirdly enough, feel and understand their frustration. And so with that I kind of decided that I wanted to make a movie that kind of encapsulated this kind of millennial anger. Then I met a producer named Sean Kaplan in Chicago and he kind of spearheaded it and found Michael Shannon and the rest is kind of history.”
Speaking of Michael Shannon, Echo Boomers has quite a cast list for a feature film debut. The film also stars Lesley Ann Warren, Alex Pettyfer, Oliver Cooper, Hayley Law and Patrick Schwarzenegger.
“This was pretty much my first day to the job as a director and thankfully enough they were just so understanding, and they loved the story, and they loved the way that I was approaching directing them and they were patient with me which is super important, and Patrick was someone who we actually cast last. And he just understood it from a generational perspective. And I was so thankful for that because I was kind of having trouble finding actors that I really love as performers that actually got the story and Patrick just, I truly believe he’s going to get eaten up by the superhero world so quickly.”
Another notable feat that Seth, along with fellow writers Kevin Berhardt and Jason Miller accomplished was that each character is likeable and we can relate to each of them in some way.
“A lot of people just think that it’s this general thing of if you went to art school then you’re in debt but it’s really not. It’s almost every single profession where everyone’s kind of struggling and I think it’s extremely unhealthy that as Americans, we kind of expect our youth to start the beginning of their adult life with a massive amount of debt. I think that mentally, it’s just exhausting and it should definitely be something that we should figure out a solution for. And I really wanted to make a movie that was breaking this mold of you like all of your characters all the time. I just don’t think that’s reality and I wanted to make a movie where these characters are doing dumb things but you can still kind of humanize them because they’re kind of like the everyday person. They’re kind of like that person in college that you were sitting next to that was struggling just like you were. And I just wanted to make a movie that wasn’t all positive or negative but there’s a gray space. I feel like we did that really well.”
Even though we can relate to these characters, Seth wants to advise viewers that the reward is not worth the risk. Seth believes there are other ways to spark the “generational conversation.”
“The film’s trying to hold a mirror up and say- everyone would think, ‘oh it’s bad, I would never do that.’ And I don’t think as many people think that as we think. I feel like if someone said ‘hey, if you robbed his house, I’ll give you $30 grand right now, I think a lot of people would do it rather than say no… We’re trying to spark this kind of generational conversation and I think we are presenting it in the absolute worst way possible in terms of the worst result. While on the flip side of this, millennials are actually having a massive effect on the economy when it comes to equal pay in the workplace, racial equality, kind of all these things. They’re kind of the ones spearheading this. And I think that’s what this is trying to show. This is an example of people who chose the absolute worst way to do it. And what’s weird enough is you still kind of see these flashes of genius come up, just because that’s just how this generation is, which I think is kind of cool.”
Echo Boomers is available in select theatres, on demand, and digital today!
“I think if you go in there with an open mind it will be your favorite movie of the year.”