Experiencing Interruptions?


In 1995, Michael discovers an old gaming console and is suddenly imported into a life and death video game. He embarks on a dangerous quest by discovering his two lost older brothers Adam and Gabriel, who've been held captive by the game's champion Neyta. Through circuits and cheat codes, Michael must find a way to free his brothers and export them home before they all become trapped inside the game forever, without being deleted in the process.

  • Jeff Loehrke
  • Jeff Loehrke
  • Jeff Loehrke
  • Dylan Stretchbery
    Key Cast
    "Michael Rodina"
    The Thick Blue Line, My Crazy Ex, Behind the Blinds
  • Kelly Rogers
    Key Cast
    The Killing Games, Dark of Moon, Lakeside
  • Johnathon Byrd
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Adventure
  • Runtime:
    2 hours 6 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    October 1, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    0 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Jeff Loehrke

Jeff Loehrke is a video producer and animator/VFX artist based out of Indianapolis. Born and raised in Northwest Ohio, Jeff is a proud graduate of Bowling Green State University, achieving a Bachelor’s Degree in Film Production and Telecommunications. Later, he gained animation principles and 3D modeling techniques through online courses at School of Motion.

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Director Statement

“Do you like to play video games?”

This was a common question asked on the playground if you were a kid growing up in the 90’s. It was an invitation to measure your social status among the kids at school, to see if you had access to the latest gaming console at your house and go toe to toe in the latest video game. The thing is, I didn’t have a gaming console in the 90’s. Instead, board games, trading cards, and chess was my means of competition. But that didn’t stop me from honing my video game skills at the neighbors’ houses during pool parties or holiday barbeques. I wanted to be the best, especially during a decade where the video game craze took off. Thirty years later the games have evolved, but the craze still hasn't died down. This is where the idea for Gauntlet was born.

I chose to write and direct this film because I wanted to create a film that gave appreciation to the human element of competition through the expression of gaming. From the early days of chess to today’s virtual reality technology, humans have been engaged in competition through a means of set rules with a desire for victory. Because of the incredible speed of technology in the video game industry, the graphics and game play have exponentially risen in the previous decades. Studies have shown that people can easily immerse themselves in this digital space and some would prefer it to their own reality. Knowing this, I wanted to tap into the experience of being trapped inside of a video game during the decade I grew up in.

Looking into the film, Adam embodies the idea of self-regret in pushing the boundaries of playing the game Gauntlet. His line “I wish I never would have pressed start” is an anthem to any gamer who looks back with empathetic eyes on their younger years, wishing they would’ve invested that time differently. I was one of those gamers. Like Adam, you can get tunnel vision into playing a video game and not only lose track of time but to lose your better judgement that ultimately leads you in becoming a prisoner of the game itself.

The 90’s decade gave us Betamax and VHS home video and I wanted Gauntlet to feel like it was made back in 1995, the same year the film takes place. I filmed in a lower resolution to get that grainy dated look on the Panasonic HVX 200 P2 Camera. I also wanted the film to be experienced as if you were watching an old, unmarked VHS tape. The VHS filter aesthetic to the film is intentional throughout, along with the blue screen showing the ‘Play’ and ‘Stop’ at the bookends of the film.

Aside from its technical aspect, this film will always be special to me because Gauntlet took 10 years to complete. This is because the tremendous amount of work that was involved in creating the 750 plus visual effect shots. Individual 3D set designs, animated heads up displays and hand painted energy batons frame by frame were all created from scratch by yours truly. It was a grind, but I am forever thankful for the cast and crew who have encouraged and supported me to complete the project throughout the years. Today, I consider them family. If it wasn’t for them, this film wouldn’t have been completed. Finishing this film has given me the confidence and inspiration that anything is possible. Kind of like defeating the video game's champion, only this experience is so much more rewarding.