Tater Tot & Patton is an independent film written and directed by Andrew Kightlinger, and is about a wayward millennial escaping to her uncle’s ranch in South Dakota, “unhinging his placid boozer life.”
The film stars Jessica Rothe (most recently in La La Land and the lead of the Happy Death Day franchise) and actor Bates Wilder.
After being shown at film festivals nationwide, Tater Tot & Patton had screenings in theaters throughout South Dakota in March. Now Kightlinger has even more to celebrate with streaming becoming available for the film on reputable sources like Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play starting May 14.
605 caught up with the movie buff and professional about what inspires him, his film favorites, and what he does beyond the camera.
“if you want to make movies, you literally have a 4K video camera in your pocket. No excuses.”
YOU MIGHT KNOW ME FROM… my father, Lon Kightlinger, now-retired state epidemiologist and genuinely how most people addressed me during this Tater Tot tour: “Are you Lon’s son?”
I FELL IN LOVE WITH FILM WHEN… John Williams’ sweeping score graced the final shot of E.T. as Elliot watched his starbound friend return home. That final fade-toblack is the bar I yearn to reach in my career.
MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE FILM IS… One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
ONE POPULAR/CLASSIC FILM I THINK IS OVERRATED IS… The Big Lebowski. Sorry not sorry.
TATER TOT & PATTON… was born from my grieving heart over the loss of my mother—to show how healing can come from unexpected places and to give audiences a sliver of redemption when the screen goes black at the end.
THE SOUTH DAKOTA SCREENINGS… were an unbridled success. Our producers, especially Dohui Kim, worked tirelessly to keep audiences engaged on social media, and worked with theater owners to track admission trends. Our numbers reflected a steady word-of-mouth. It goes to show that if filmmakers want to keep the theatrical experience alive, you have to hustle to get it done. Compel audiences off their sofas and into the cinema.
TOURING WITH YOUR FILM CAN BE… bad for your liver.
ONE MOMENT I’LL NEVER FORGET WHEN DIRECTING WAS… after making lead actor Bates Wilder eat cans of beans for 22 takes, he took his revenge by releasing a fart in an enclosed space, nearly suffocating me.
WHEN PLANNING A FILM, I GET INSPIRED BY… going to museums.
WHAT SOUTH DAKOTA HAS MEANT TO ME IN REGARD TO FILM IS… that it nourishes my creative soul.
ONE OF MY GO-TO PLACES IN SOUTH DAKOTA TO EAT OR GRAB A DRINK IS… Cattleman’s Steakhouse near Pierre. Best prime rib in these United States of America.
MY FAVORITE PART OF SHOOTING IN SOUTH DAKOTA IS… the natural light.
“we had a showing in mobridge so my grandmother could bring all her friends from the area.”
I’VE PREMIERED FILMS AT FILM FESTIVALS, LIKE… Slamdance (for a screenplay I wrote), Palm Springs International ShortFest, South Dakota Film Festival, Napa Valley Film Festival, etc.
ONE OF THE BIGGEST MOMENTS FOR ME IN MY FILM CAREER HAS BEEN… signing with a reputable manager at Artists First in Los Angeles. They rep[resent] the likes of Jordan Peele and John Chu. Even though I’m still a guppy there, I feel like I’m in good company.
A MISCONCEPTION SOME PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT FILMMAKING IS… we make loads of money. Trust me, we don’t.
RIGHT NOW I’M BUSY… working like mad writing my next film—another healing drama with a bigger scope—and also writing an E.T.-esque sci-fi adventure for family audiences. I’m still committed to getting a film about sex trafficking made as well.
WHEN I’M NOT WORKING, YOU CAN TYPICALLY FIND ME… running 12 miles to excommunicate feelings of inadequacy in my career.
IF I WASN’T MAKING FILMS, I’D BE… a glass-bottom boat tour guide in Tobago.
SOMETHING I’M EXCITED ABOUT THIS YEAR IS… selling my first screenplay and becoming an actual working writer. And subsequently paying off loans and debts.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT TATER TOT & PATTON ON FACEBOOK.COM.