Filmmaking has always been a part of life for Omaha resident Aaron Gum.
“I don’t know when I first became interested in film,” Gum says. “I’ve always been into video and I don’t know if there was ever really a point where I was like, ‘I want to be a filmmaker,’ but I liked the idea of telling little stories using video cameras as a medium, and I guess I grew up and decided to do it for a living.”
His earliest works were filming his high school punk rock band practices and then editing in footage from ET and Re-animator using the A.V.-dub function on VCRs.
“I didn’t actually go to any film school or college for what I do. I’ve basically been making videos and editing since before I was in high school,” Gum adds.
Gum’s first feature film, the comedy/drama Bent Over Neal, premiered in October 2014. It was well received by critics and audiences alike and played at festivals.
In a departure from his last film’s genre, Gum recently released Endor, set in rural Nebraska. “Endor is a more traditional horror movie,” Gum says. “There are some supernatural elements and a lot of running through cornfields, which is not as much fun as you might think it would be. Especially if you’re carrying a camera rig and it’s hot and sticky.”
Horror is familiar ground for the artist. He grew up appreciating films like Stuart Gordon’s aforementioned Re-animator and Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead. As the Alfred Hitchcock T-shirt Gum was wearing the day of the interview suggests, the master of suspense and Stanley Kubrick—both filmmakers with a more psychological bent—also influence him.
“My background is more in the horror films,” Gum says. “I always liked the spooky, scary stuff.”
The genre has also influenced Gum’s other projects. He freelances for advertisers and has directed about 100 music videos in the last 15 years. One video, Orenda Fink’s “This is a Part of Something Greater” recreates scenes from such classics as Poltergeist, The Shining, Psycho, and Videodrome.
Whether he is working in horror or dramedy, Gum appreciates character-driven stories.
“One interesting thing about Endor is…you’re following these kids back through their journey across Nebraska and the characters develop so when things start getting crazy you care for these people on the screen. What happens to them? Are they going to make it out of this town of Endor?”
The moviemaking process for Gum involves occupying many jobs on the set aside from directing—including cameraman, crew wrangler, and even craft service.
It’s Gum’s passion for his projects that keeps him motivated.
“There’s devotion to learning and always continuing to learn and develop your craft. I’ve never stopped trying to get better at what I do.”
Visit vimeo.com/ionraygun to learn more.