Frogtown, the first feature film by writer/director and CalArts alumnus C. Andrew Hall (Film/Video MFA 10), is a love story set in the dark nooks and crannies of Los Angeles. It's currently making the festival rounds, and its only LA screening happens this Saturday (Sept. 17) at the Downtown Independent Theater.
The film focuses on Cassie—played by Alanna Blair (Theater BFA 08)—who moves back home to suburbia after an adolescence spent on the streets of LA. Drug-addled and still mixed up, she wakes up one day in an alley with a Polaroid in her pocket—of herself and a man she's never seen before. The strange picture intrigues her and leads her back to an LA that's rarely seen on film: the fringes of Venice, East LA and the concrete channel better known as the LA River.
In an email, Hall writes why he was inspired to showcase the less glamorous side of Tinseltown: "After getting my MFA in film from CalArts and living near the river for years, the culture and aesthetic of it inspired me to shoot a love story under the gritty underpasses and down in the river itself, surrounded by the amazing street art and the itinerant people who live on the islands in the Glendale Narrows."
The film's shoestring budget and shooting in the underbelly of the city naturally led to a few interesting encounters for the filmmaker, actors and crew.
"While filming, my crew was held hostage by a local gang, while I ran to an ATM to get cash to pay them off. We were assaulted by a naked homeless man. My lead actress accidentally stepped in a pile of human excrement on Skid Row," Hall noted. "We have some remarkable out takes."
Frogtown screening & after party with cast
Downtown Independent Theater
251 S. Main St., Los Angeles
Saturday, Sept. 17
Tickets: $10 advance, $14 door