Rotor: DR1 – A Boy and His Drone (Review)

Directed by Ohio filmmaker Chad Kapper, starring his son Christian and written by four hobby drone enthusiasts. Rotor DR1 feels a little like “A Boy and His Drone” but this experimental community film is entertaining despite its slow pace and awkward acting by the cast.


Directed by Ohio filmmaker Chad Kapper, starring his son Christian and written by four hobby drone enthusiasts. Rotor DR1 feels a little like “A Boy and His Drone” but this experimental community film is entertaining despite its slow pace and awkward acting by some of the cast. Christian acquits himself rather well, as does his romantic interest Maya (played by Natalie Welch). 

The setting is an indeterminate time in the future after a virus has decimated the world’s population and stopped the clock on many modern conveniences. This post apocalyptic world has energy pellets as currency and the only technology that seems to still work are the pilotless, and programmed, drones that fly through otherwise quiet skies.

Kitch (Christian Kapper) is a lad whose father worked on a cure for the virus and who the boy believes is dead at the start of the film.  Finding a drone that is different from any he has seen before, leads Kitch to believe his father is still alive somewhere.

Maya (Welch), whose uncle 4C collects energy pellets, goes with Kitch on his journey to discover whether his father is alive or not. The two youngsters meet several interesting people along the way and also get caught by two of 4C’s thugs.  They enter DR1 in a drone race, escape the thugs and eventually learn the truth about the virus and Kitch’s father.

Rotor Arc Pellet
Post apocalyptic currency, rotor arc pellets…

Rotor DR1 began life as a 10 part web series that was, in essence, written by fans of hobby drones.   As the webisodes progressed the makers asked the community for feedback every step of the way. Input received from the drone community and fans of the series influenced the storyline, character arcs and the show’s finale.

After the web series ended it was then edited into a feature film format and distributed via Cinema Libre Studio.  In many ways the final product feels like an overlong student production, or like a film version of the old Andy Hardy, “lets put on a show in the barn.”

While this may make it sound like the production is amateurish, it is not. Granted many of the actors feel wooden and not a little stilted. This does not, however, detract from the story or its conclusion.  Rotor DR1 is a family film where the action has no gore or needlessly explicit violence, sex or unacceptable language.

There is no attempt to give the drones, not even DR1, a “Wally-ish” type of interaction with Kitch or Maya.  The drone prototype does have a very limited interaction with the boy, but that is facilitated via a camera attached to the machine along with an amped-up power supply and A.I. capability.

Maya (Natalie Welch) and Kitch (Christian Kapper) and DR1

What helps to sell the film and enable the viewer to overlook any shortcomings, is the voice over narration by Christian Kapper. His “internal” monologue with himself feels genuine and sincere. We believe his musings to be true because of his underplayed delivery.

Both Kapper and his costar Welch, have a good onscreen chemistry as the two disparate youngsters thrown together by their mutual interest in the mysterious drone. Their shared journey is made more interesting by their “genuine”  interaction.

The biggest complaint about the film  has to be that patchwork quilt feel as the movie was cribbed from a “group effort” based upon fan feedback.  That said, this is a fascinating experimental take on filmmaking.  Certainly the boy and his drone feel to the film keeps the audience watching in spite of the slow pace and somewhat discordant storyline.

Kapper is not a young Don Johnson and his drone cannot “talk” to  him like the Harlan Ellison inspired 1975 film A Boy and His Dog (the dog’s voice provided by Jason Robards). The boy’s search for his father and his travels are interesting though and this film does not rely upon a largely misogynistic theme or sex to maintain interest.

Rotor DR1 could almost be described as bargain basement Disney.  It is family friendly, has a tiny budget and contains nothing that is remotely controversial. This is standard fare with an interesting storyline and just enough action to keep the interest piqued throughout.  A 3.5 star film, out of 5, that is well worth the time spent watching it.

The Lottery: Season One Finale Airing to a Disinterested Audience

The Lottery: Season One Finale Airing to a Disinterested Audience

With the season one finale of The Lottery airing tonight to a disinterested audience, two things are clear. Firstly, there will most likely never be a season two and secondly if there was, for some reason, no one would care. The show has worked very hard to come up with a thriller that should have been a winner. Sadly, it seems that the viewing audience just do not have any interest in a near future where infertility and governmental dirty tricks walk hand in hand.

Boston Marathon Explosions the Boogeyman Strikes

Screen Shot 2013-04-15 at 21.45.56

As I sat down to write a blog post last night, I saw a “push” come up on my Facebook wall. It was from an old colleague who stated that he hoped his family in Boston were okay.

Curiosity piqued, I asked him what was going on and while waiting for a response I typed  “Boston events” in the search bar and got the news sightly ahead of his answer.

Someone or some group had exploded two devices at the Boston Marathon finishing line. Two people were killed, I found out from a friend who is from Boston that one of these was an eight year-old child, and at least 23 injured. The news went on to state that two more devices had been found and that there was a further explosion at the Kennedy Library.

I was shocked.

Although it was late and I was quite tired, I spent the next several hours watching live coverage of this obscenity and “tweeting” what I was learning. One of the things I learned was that at that time no one group had stepped forward to claim responsibility for placing  these bombs in the rubbish bins.

I also learned that the official line on the “devices” was not to call them bombs.

I was once again, shocked.

If something has been set up to explode, it is a bomb. I can only think that officials have decided that to call them bombs would scare people and dredge up some sort of “negative” connotation.

I’ve got news for the authorities, a bomb by any other name is a bomb.

The bitter irony in this is that while the bombs were exploding, President Obama was working on new gun laws to protect his constituents from acts of murder. While he was looking at stopping death within, death came (presumably) from without.

With the introduction of drones that spy on American citizens in the name of national security, the good guys were obviously looking in the wrong direction and the bad guys got in.

It is sad that the times we live in now include urban terror attacks from whatever group or source. These attacks are designed to keep people afraid. Afraid of public events, of walking down their own streets (Bostonian’s were told to stay inside after the explosions and Boston was put on “lock-down”) and afraid to trust “foreigners” let alone each other.

The group or people responsible  want all free countries to be placed under “house arrest” and to be too terrified to leave their homes. And through the diversionary news worthy events of killing sprees with guns and with the media shouting to the heavens about gun control, the folks responsible for the country’s security forgot to look at the ongoing issue of terrorism.

I might be wrong (and I have been wrong before) but I think that the security forces need to stop looking for “Boogeymen” under their own beds or backyards and remember to look at those “outside” the country they’ve been sworn to protect.

As the death toll rises to three and the injured numbers more than triple, I’m sure the people in yesterday’s Boston Marathon would agree.



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