Couple risks nest egg for movie, gets Oscar nod

When they give out the Oscars on Sunday, movie fans will be watching all the famous couples on the red carpet, such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

But the most fascinating couple this Sunday could be Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey.

The filmmakers are an ordinary couple who took an extraordinary gamble and are now Academy Award nominees for their short film "Time Freak."

Complete Coverage: Oscars 2012

When the couple learned they were nominated, Bowler said, "We both freaked out and (Gigi) cried and then calmed for a second and then cried again."

To understand Bowler and Causey's excitement, you have to go back in time to their wedding three years ago, some not-so-glamorous TV and movie jobs, and the dream of buying an apartment in New York.

The couple agrees it was all Causey's idea. She said, "I kind of said, 'This isn't going to work, if we buy an apartment, this is what we're doing for the rest of our lives, for the next decade,' and so I said, 'Why don't we make a movie instead?' So we did."

And the timing of the venture -- right after the economy tanked -- was probably at its most treacherous, Bowler said.

"(It was) a good time to buy an apartment, maybe not a good time for a risky artistic venture," Bowler said.

They shot their short film, "Time Freak" in four days for $25,000 -- their entire nest egg. "Time Freak" tells the story of a neurotic inventor, his time machine and the worst that could happen with his creation.

Bowler said, "'Time Freak' is a joke I shared with friends for many years -- like what's the worst thing you could do with a time machine? It's like, 'What did you have for lunch?' 'Oh, I had a sandwich, but if I had a time machine, I'd go back in time and have a salad.'"

"Time Freak" had an inauspicious launch, rejected by film festivals like Sundance, Telluride, and Tribeca.

When they learned of their rejections, the couple said they started thinking about the apartment they gave up.

Causey said, "I still felt like we did the right thing, but it was so discouraging."

Undaunted, Causey submitted the short film for Oscar consideration.

And then suddenly, Bowler and Causey were sharing the stage at the Oscar luncheon with names like George Clooney, Steven Spielberg and Meryl Streep.

Causey said, "I turn around and see my mother and Meryl Streep in an embrace and I'm sitting there, 'That's Meryl Streep, she's hugging my mother' and then my mom turns around, 'Gigi, this is Meryl Streep," I'm like, 'I know it's Meryl Streep! What are you doing hugging her?'"

The couple even got official Academy Award nominee sweatshirts.

Their week has been filled with pre-Oscar hoopla -- all building toward the big night.

So what are they going to wear to the awards?

Bowler said he's planning to don a rental from Mr. Tuxedo. "Renting is the new buying," Bowler said.

And Causey said she's planning to wear a dress she found at a thrift shop.

So has the nomination affected the couple's marriage?

Causey said, "Obviously our wedding and our marriage is something that we celebrate and a memory that we cherish --"

"This blows it away," Bowler said, joking.

"No!" Causey said, "No, but the thing is we did this together, and it was kind of the extension of our post-wedding plan. This was our future that we made."

They say if they could use the time machine from their movie, they wouldn't change a thing.

To watch Mo Rocca's full report, watch the video in the player above.

  • Mo Rocca

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