Hailing from North Hollywood, California, Warren Lewis Allen brings us Radio Road, an original take on a pre-apocyliptic event during which four friends prepare for the death of the Earth. Below you can read more about Warren Lewis Allen and his work.
What is your connection to the South?
I moved to Nashville, Tennessee at the beginning of 2010 after I flipped a penny against Tampa, Florida, which was tails. The coin landed on tails and I chose Nashville anyway because Florida really scares me in an arcane, Tropicana orange juice sort of way. Nashville is just an arm of the American South so it is difficult for me to speak about my relationship to the entire region; however, Middle Tennessee has a very transcendental energy about it that stuck honey to my bones and cemented who I am as an artist today. There are magnificently creative people there in Nashville who are willing to collaborate on things other than music, though there is plenty of that. There is always somebody receptive to discussions that peel on and on and sort of ash away into little butterflies of tail end thought. I’ve never had these sort of conversations or relationships anywhere else.
Where did you get your inspiration for this work?
I was reading a lot of work from Harlem Renaissance writers – Dudley Randall, Gwendolyn Brooks and Zora Neale Hurston specifically. There was a palpable energy in their prose that I felt connected to in Nashville and I tuned into that lyrical aura that I saw in places and people in my daily life. Gwendolyn Brooks’s poem “We Real Cool” was a driving force for the creation of Radio Road. Visually, I was inspired by the works of the American realist painters Andrew Wyeth and Rackstraw Downes. I wanted to capture that intrinsic rawness of those wind-scraped places. I’d also like to add that while viewing Lars Von Trier’s “Melancholia” all I wanted to see was what everybody else was doing before the planets collided. What were the guys at my job at the farm doing on that last day before the big end? I wanted to make an existential working person’s version of that film.
How did you start making films?
With filmmaking I filled the void that took a piece of me when I stopped working as a painter. I tried to just do nothing for awhile. Just go to work and drive around, drink soda – things like that. That stillness started to damp down the little flecks that sparked up together to make one big flame and that was no way to live. I was lucky enough to share a boarding room with another artist and together we found commonality with each-other’s sensibilities and formed a little artist collective.We chose to make films because film was a comprehensive form of expression that uses so many facets of art and then fits them all together in a weird and wonderful gallimaufry. It was sort of the final frontier of art-making for all of us.
Did anything interesting of funny happen in set during the shooting?
I’ll tell you that when you are shooting on expired film stocks, you go in with a sort of “this is going to be interesting” mood before you slap the first slate. We knew that there was no guarantee that anything was going to come out and that encouraged a sort of reckless piece of feeling that was contagious. It caught a light in our belly and burned up through our arms and down in our feet.
What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?
I’m anticipating watching the films and celebrating them with their filmmakers.
Why should someone see your film?
After I had premiered Radio Road at the Nashville Film Festival a lady asked me, “What the hell is the plot of this movie?”
I’m not sure if she should’ve seen my film. But I’m glad she did because there are all sorts of little pieces you can break off a picture and assemble into your own kind of image, even if you can’t reason a story-line. I hope there’s a few people out there that can make their own pictures from watching my film.