Dave Franco had hoped to tour film festivals with his feature directorial debut The Rental before the Covid-19 pandemic ruined his plan.

The Rental stars Franco’s wife Alison Brie, Dan Stevens, Sheila Vand and Jeremy Allen White as two couples who rent an oceanside Airbnb and discover the getaway’s host might be spying on them.

The Now You See Me actor had intended to submit the low-budget indie horror to a string of festivals to help generate buzz but the pandemic ruined the timing of the post-production process and led to many festivals being cancelled this year.

“With the timing of the edit and the pandemic happening, we actually never had the opportunity to even submit to any festivals,” Franco told IndieWire. “At first, I was a little disheartened by that because I had this idea in my head of doing a festival run and travelling all over the country with my wife. But actually we’re going to be playing in more theatres than we originally had planned.”

Although he didn’t get the festival premiere he’d hoped for, there has been a silver lining, as his movie isn’t competing against blockbusters, which have been postponed due the pandemic, so more people are likely to see it.
“Indie films are getting a little bit more of a spotlight, partially because we are not competing with these giant summer blockbusters, but also because people need new content,” he explained. “I look at recent indie films film like Palm Springs and Relic, and it feels like everyone’s talking about them. It’s nice that these really well-executed indie movies are getting the attention they deserve.”

Franco co-wrote the movie with indie favourite Joe Swanberg and was initially going to star instead of direct, but when he signed on to helm the feature, he decided against casting himself in it.

“When I did decide to direct it, I made a major choice to just focus on my responsibility behind the camera,” he explained.