Spencer Gillis

Chicago & New York City based writer/director and camera operator.

GUN (2013)

Teaser (1 min)

Available on iTunes

Available on Amazon Video

Available on Verizon Fios On-Demand

Also showing on SHORTS HD channel on AT&T U-Verse and DirectTV


2013 Sundance Film Festival
2013 Atlanta Film Festival
2013 Dallas International Film Festival
2013 Florida Film Festival
2013 Sarasota Film Festival
2013 Kanas City FilmFest
2013 Boston International Film Festival
2013 Seattle International Film Festival
2013 Stony Brook Film Festival
2013 Melbourne International Film Festival
2013 Rhode Island International Film Festival
2013 Hardacre Film Festival
2013 Hollyshorts Film Festival
2013 New Orleans Film Festival


GRAND JURY PRIZE Best Short Film, 2013 Atlanta Film Festival

BEST NARRATIVE, 2013 Hollyshorts Film Festival

BEST ACTOR, 2013 Hollyshorts Film Festival

BEST SHORT FILM, 2013 Hardacre Film Festival

Director's Statement

GUN is a character study about the influence of power on the human mind. As a viewer, I find cinema is at its best when it tells a story about human nature.  In GUN, Roy finds himself confronted with an age-old dilemma, how to protect his home and family. The simple act of buying a handgun unravels the complex fabric of Roy’s humanity, as good intentions give way to darker tendencies. Will Roy become the man he is trying to protect his family from?

Growing up in a small town in Kansas, I had plenty of exposure to firearms. My mother was a police officer and she often took my sister and me to the shooting range to watch her train for the pistol team. Eventually I learned to shoot. The tremendous sense of empowerment and responsibility while handling a firearm always shocked me. Months before writing GUN I awoke one night to a noise outside our suburban home, my pregnant wife asleep next to me. After tiptoeing about the house, peering out into the darkness, I realized how unprepared we were for the unthinkable. This compelled me to explore our alienation from our deeply embedded primal instincts and how we respond when they resurface.

Stylistically the DoP, Ludovic Littee, and I worked very closely to design a minimalist aesthetic. With films like Shame (2011) and The Robber (2010) as influences, our goal was to unfold the narrative in a constrained and judicious way. Setting boundaries kept us focused, allowing performance and story to drive the film. The concept was to draw the audience into Roy’s world while crafting a visual correlation to his desire for control.

Actor Gabe Fazio and I collaborated closely to create the character of Roy. We spent hours in preproduction exploring the character, Gabe pushing me to probe further at every turn of the process. What does Roy want? What does he do for a living? What past traumas does he have? What does he fear? Once we were shooting very little conversation was required. Gabe brought an immense richness to the character. He truly became Roy. 

One purpose cinema serves is to offer cathartic encounters, to play out morally or ethically dangerous experiences in a safe space. GUNoffers that space to the audience in a powerful way because it comes so close to home. We see a glimpse of ourselves in Roy’s struggle and come away with a simple question, are we really in control?

Interviews & Other

CONTACT: spencer@twothreefive.nyc