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Sundance: 'GUN' director says film explores psychology of self defense

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Spencer Gillis’s new drama “GUN,” is scheduled to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, which is also, coincidentally, Gun Appreciation Day. With the issue of gun control center stage in the wake of the Newtown school tragedy, Gillis told us "GUN" can add another dimension to the debate.

“The strength of the film is that it doesn’t push an agenda. ‘GUN’ explores the influence of power on the human mind,” Gillis told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “The film isn’t pro- or anti-gun. It may allow the viewer to find their own preconceived notions in the film, but also compels them to consider other viewpoints.”

“GUN” is centered on new parents Roy and Karen who experience a terrifying home break-in. Roy then decides it is time to purchase a handgun for home defense, but soon becomes obsessed with the sense of power he feels when carrying a concealed weapon. 

“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,” Gillis continued. “I also grew up in a small town in Kansas where my mother was a police officer, so I was exposed to plenty of firearms. The experience of handling a handgun for the first time always made an impression on me – the tremendous sense of empowerment and responsibility. That was one of the biggest inspirations for making this film.”

And although ‘GUN’ was not written with the gun control debate in mind at all, the filmmaker now hopes the timely nature of his latest feature film succeeds in reaching the average American, and prompting them to look at the debate from all points of view.

“I wanted to tell a story about how to protect the home and family, and how one man deals with that. In retrospect, I hope it gets people thinking and highlights the complex nature of gun ownership,” Gillis added. “’GUN’ gets right to the heart of human nature and our primal instinct to survive – something I think every person on earth can relate to.”

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