Growing up in Hollywood Heights, Andrew Allen’s talents for filmmaking came easy. His father remembers him running around the house, 8 millimeter camera in hand.
“My favorite was an 8mm about his ‘monster’ little sister Elisabeth (age 1 1/2 years old) called ‘Lizella,'” says Lakewood architect John Allen.
All those formative experiences, along with a degree in radio, film and television from UT, led Andrew Allen to create his first feature film, which premieres tonight, Aug. 29, at the historic Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff. Entitled “Glow,” the ensemble drama follows a litany of characters “trying to find light in the dark city.” Allen not only directed and produced the film, he wrote a script that showcases human heartache and growth (see the trailer below).
When asked what inspired the characters, he says, “The short answer is real life. The long answer, I took hopefully a healthy mix of both everyday and once-in-a-lifetime struggles that people seemed to be going through and tried to imagine how they got there. Who hurt them, who did they hurt along the way? It was really an exercise in empathy and imagination.”
Filming took place all around Dallas, including a few scenes in our own neighborhood.
“Probably around 5 minutes of the film (was shot in Lakewood). We used an executive producer’s house a few times right next to the Lakewood Country Club golf course a few times, once as an exterior for a lawn mowing scene, once as a funeral wake,” Allen says, adding that there are also a few moments at White Rock Lake.
It was a true labor of love. He spent years finding investors and working in marketing to save the money needed to make the movie. Once the piece were in place, he headed every department, “locations, casting, production design, camera, grip, catering, I could go on,” he says.
But he learned to fight for what he believes as an artist, and was able to produce his first film entirely on his own terms because of it. “I learned that I am not the most skilled fighter in the world just yet,” he says. “However, I can take a punch better than anyone.”
Tickets to the premiere range from $10-$75 and are available here. The night begins with a red carpet welcome followed by the film at 7:15 p.m. If you can’t make it tonight, the film will also be screened at the Texas Theatre on Sept. 2, 3 and 5. All screenings include a chance to buy the DVD. Keep up with the film at glowmovie.net, or on Facebook.
“In general, I’m planning on renting out theaters one city at a time, starting in Texas and hopefully going to many of the larger markets in the U.S.,” Allen says of his plans to get the film in front of audiences. “Eventually, anyone will be able to buy those deliverables on Amazon, and digital distribution will come eventually as well. There are just no set plans for that at this time. Like with most independent films, your future’s uncertain. You kind of have to make your own.”