Denver director Sean J.S. Jourdan.

AURORA | The road can be very, very long for a filmmaker.

Even for established names, it’s rarely easy or quick to get a movie made. A first-time director by the name of Ryan Gosling told Variety earlier this year, “I didn’t know it was going to take three years.”

Denver director Sean J.S. Jourdan can sympathize. In his case, he’s still traveling the road to getting his first feature film, “Teddy Boy,” shown across the country after launching a Kickstarter in early 2012 to make the project a reality.

But thankfully there are pit stops along that road, including the Denver premiere of the Colorado-produced and shot film at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 31, at the Sie FilmCenter in Denver.

“Oh my gosh, finally! It’s a relief. We’ve been working on this film for so long that it’s very gratifying to be able to share this with an audience and for the people who put so much into the film begin to get the recognition they deserve,” Jourdan said.

Beyond his own efforts and those of his family, cast and crew, more than 240 Kickstarter backers pledged more than $35,000 to fund “Teddy Boy” — and the chance to finally share the spotlight with them at the Sie is something Jourdan relishes.

“It was never ever my film — countless people contributed to its construction, and I owe it to them to get it out into the world. For others to recognize the cast and crew … I couldn’t be more grateful,” Jourdan said. “And, it gives me the opportunity to see their smiling faces again, which, aside from working on another movie together, is the next best thing.”

“Teddy Boy” centers on young tennis player James (Joey Bicicchi) disrupting the tenuously quiet life of a couple (played by Denver actors Danielle Prall and Kevin Sean Ryan) as they host him in their home. There are secrets on all sides of this character equation that build into a dramatic thriller that Jourdan has likened to Michael Haneke’s “Funny Games” and Roman Polanski’s “Knife in the Water.”

Jourdan says that demonstrating to others that “you have your heart invested” is a crucial piece when it comes to making an independent, low-budget film, but that simply having that drive has to be there from start to finish.

“That feeling of absolute frustration, even desperation — perhaps a better, if overused word, for it is passion — is critically important when you’re making a low-budget film, without recognizable talent, with your friends helping you,” Jourdan said. “It’s a driver that pushes you that extra step. It gets you out of bed that hour earlier. You’re willing to knock on a stranger’s door or drive even farther in search of that perfect location.”

For “Teddy Boy,” those drives were across the roads of Colorado: Black Hawk (and the “almost Gothic fairytale feel” to the forests), Boulder (“rugged but warm”), Idaho Springs and Lake Granby served as ideal spots to shoot the film.

“There is a grandeur with this place. Colorado has tremendous architecture, varied forests, and imposing mountains,” Jourdan said. “For instance, we wanted to film in a mid-century modern home. Not only am I fan of this particular style, but the bold angles, lines, rectangles/squares, would allow for framing within framing — a sense of entrapment that is befitting of the thriller genre. … Cold and modern.

“As things begin to unspool, there is a primitivism that takes hold that is undoubtedly reflected in the locations of our beautiful state,” Jourdan said. “Plus the light. At times, harsh and unforgiving. Other times, often in golden hour, ethereal.”

But as much inspiration as Jourdan drew from Colorado itself in scouting locations and making decisions on how to visually construct the film, the story’s inspiration was a stay with a couple who themselves had suffered a personal tragedy involving their son. When he began the project, Jourdan was a first-time father of a newborn; now, he’s added a second little one to his family and that newborn has just started preschool, and the film’s approach to family and the bonds forged therein is seen through a different mindset.

“As a father of now two children and with a wife who, at times, gratefully teaches me how to parent, it’s a story that carries additional weight,” Jourdan said. “It hits closer to home when your imagination runs and you think to yourself, ‘What if Gloria was this way…’ or ‘What if Pablo did this…,’ would I be accepting? Would I be threatened? No one really knows until they find themselves confronted with those circumstances. I guess the film has alway been a bit of a cautionary tale but now, for me, it’s multiplied.”

Part of the Filmmaker Focus series, the screening will be book-ended by Miguel Silveira’s short film “Devil’s Work” and a Q&A with both Jourdan and Silveira moderated by NPR’s Howie Movshovitz. Proceeds will benefit the Rocky Mountain chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Click here for details.

CREDITS AND OUTTAKES: Other bits of our interview with Sean J.S. Jourdan

  • “If people see that you have your heart invested (as well as time, resources, capital, etc.) they want to reach out to help. They really do. When someone comes to me with that same sense of passion — and it’s genuine — I can’t help but to do what I can to help her achieve her goal.  Perhaps it’s the underdog mentality that most of us definitely relate to. And after the filming has been completed and most everybody goes their separate ways, it’s the same fuel that pushes your through post-production, where many films wither and fade away.  You’re able to go over it again and again with your picture and sound editors (God bless you, Nick Martin and Justin Davis), colorists, VFX people … until you nearly can’t take it anymore.”‘
  • “My daughter’s first day of preschool was this week and it had me ruminating on something with some wisdom to tell her on her first day. When I graduated from college my folks gave me a watch inscribed on the back with Polonius’ words from “Hamlet” — “to thine own self be true.” Great advice. But, as I think of that, in this context something may be missing: Let others be true to thine own selves. This may be one of the most difficult things of being a parent… we’ll find out when they become teenagers!”
  • “At the end of the day you can truly look anyone in the eye and say that you made the best film you could possibly make with the resources that were available.  You gave it your all plus some.  That may not mean much, in the general scheme of things or even in the film business, but it means a great deal to me.”
  • “The whole process — conceiving the film, making it, finishing, then getting it out in world — is tremendously difficult.  It’s tremendously humbling. And it reminds you that every film, even that terrible Adam Sandler vehicle, is a minor, sometimes major, miracle. I sometimes have a hard time suggesting or even encouraging people to do it for the first time because they have absolutely no idea what that means … but I feel I’m a better filmmaker and storyteller because of it. I like to think I’ve learned from my many mistakes and I’m a little more cautious, for better or worse. And, I will say this — opportunities have arisen that would have never, ever come to be if I never would have gone down this path.”