Andrew’s love for storytelling began at the age of 4 when his father introduced him to Marvel Comics. Sitting down once a month with his brothers, Andrew would disappear into the pages Stan Lee and the writers and artists of Marvel had so brilliantly brought to life.
Andrew’s love for cinema began a few years later, after seeing Star Wars for the first time. It wasn’t long after that Andrew found a deep desire to perform and a love for the craft of acting. He wanted to be the hero of those worlds.
Andrew spent his teen years in Vermont split between reading Marvel comics, doing theater and immersing himself in the films of James Cameron, John Hughes, Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis and Cameron Crowe…. it didn’t hurt growing up enveloped in cinema of the 80’s and 90’s.
In 1990, Andrew booked his first professional acting job in the Bill Murray/Richard Dreyfuss comedy “What about Bob?” While working on the film, he often spent lunches with the late actor and novelist Roger Bowen (no relation) talking about movies he wanted to make. When the film wrapped, Roger told Andrew he felt he had some storytelling abilities and encouraged him to learn screenwriting. The following Spring, Andrew moved to Los Angeles and began taking screenwriting courses at USC.
Over the next decade, Andrew continued to find success and steady work as an actor in the 90’s. When he wasn’t working, he was writing. It was Andrew’s admiration of James Cameron that actually led to him to discover he wanted to be a filmmaker. James Cameron was attached to make a Spiderman movie and Andrew wanted to be considered for the role of Peter Parker. Andrew decided to empty his bank account to write, direct, produce and act in short film as Peter Parker to send to James. Although Andrew never got to show the film to James, (the Spiderman rights fell into a legal abyss), it was on-set that first day that Andrew realized he wanted to make movies.
Five years later, after the birth of his first son, that passion to direct led Andrew to write, produce, act and direct his first feature film ALONG THE WAY (The Haven) – a dramatic coming of age story about four friends and one night that changed their lives forever. The film was executive produced by Andrew’s father, Peter N. Bowen and shot on location in LA and his home state of Vermont.
Once completed, the film began a festival run, winning awards and garnering positive reviews from audiences and critics. Confident and encouraged that the film was on its way to finding an audience, Andrew discovered that his producer and close friend had engaged in illegal activities and embezzled funds during production. Due to the enormity of the legal issues now surrounding the film and the thousands lost – the film was not able to be released. Although almost ten years later, an edited version of the film saw a very limited run streaming on Netflix, the ordeal was devastating both financially and emotionally.
Andrew saw the birth of twins a year after he lost ALONG THE WAY and focused on continuing to act to support his family, appearing in numerous TV shows, commercials and independent films. Although the thought of trying to mount a production again was still too painful, he kept writing throughout this period, optioning another script and amassed a large pile of screenplays.
Andrew lost his father to cancer in 2012. The event was a huge blow. Not only was he close with his father – but he was the one who always believed in him as a director. A few years after the loss of his father, Andrew realized that continuing to avoid his passion to make films was no longer a “healthy option” for himself – or his family. In 2016 he decided he had to follow his passion to direct and committed himself 100% to his writing and directing pursuits. He penned his baby: a comedic sci-fi adventure film he had been sitting on for almost 10 years called THE MCCAULIFFE EQUATION – and then came upon the idea for THE 716Th.
Andrew knew he wanted to be considered to direct TMC when he sold it, but didn’t feel he had made anything that showed the kind of stories he was capable of telling. He also knew that VFX would play a huge role in the kind of films he wanted to make and learning the basic language of VFX would be critical to that.
In July of 2016, a friend posted on Facebook that JJ Abrams was doing a Star Wars fan film contest – he was asking friends to help make one with him……. Andrew replied that he would totally be down to “run around with the blaster.” A week later, Andrew started thinking about what kind of story he’d make if he actually did make a fan film. He knew he wouldn’t want to do anything that had already been done before. He also knew that sci-fi filmmaking wasn’t cheap, so Andrew took a practical approach to coming up with a story. What did he already have access to? He recalled that his friend Matthew Gratzner (one of the founders of New Deal Studios) had built a really cool cockpit for a GAIKING proof-of-concept a few years earlier. Andrew figured that Matt would totally let him borrow it, so he started thinking of what could be done with it. The set was small; almost escape-pod sized and would only hold maybe two people… squeezed tightly together. Andrew thought having two characters stacked on top of each other like that could make for some great drama – and shooting inside the ship would allow him to stay with the characters and not require a lot of VFX.
Long story short, six hours later, he had abandoned the “fan film” idea all together, had written a 12 page script and drew 19 pages of storyboards for a rescue film that would eventually become The 716Th. Not only did he feel he had a fun, high concept , character driven sci-fi adventure – one he could make relatively inexpensively and not require a tremendous amount of VFX – but also, a terrific idea for a television series. And The 716Th was no longer a short film but a proof-of-concept.
What came next was 8 months of “just do” determination and hard work to bring the film to life. There was no room in Andrew’s limited budget to afford production design or art direction, so Andrew had to take those duties on himself, designing and building all the props and a majority of costumes and sets in his garage. (The Monday after Andrew had written the film, he found out that Matt’s ‘cockpit’ set had been trashed a few weeks earlier) Thankfully, Andrew had an amazing group of talented friends to ask for help who enthusiastically supported him in bringing this universe to life – a team he plans to work with for years to come.
A billion favors and thank you’s – and weeks without sleep later, Andrew couldn’t be more thankful or excited to finally begin to introduce the world to the characters and universe of The NAM 716TH… and the talented people who helped him bring it to life.