Haley Anderson is the director of the 2017 Visiones short, Get Out Fast, the story of a small town teen and his wanderlust. We spoke with Anderson on the South, her short, and Indie Grits. Read below for some of her thoughts.
What is your connection to the South?
I grew up in Houston, TX and my family now lives in Austin, Texas. My family originates from Louisiana: my dad was born in Port Arthur, Texas and raised where my mom grew up, the small town of Lake Charles, Louisiana. My parents lived in New Orleans for a while, which is where I shot the film. My extended family is scattered all over the south – Tennessee, South Carolina. My roots are in the south. Until moving to New York, I didn’t know anything else.
Where did you get your inspiration for this work?
My childhood. I remember living in Richmond, Texas when I was really little. My neighborhood was surrounded by farmland and a cornfield that belonged to a state prison. There was a train bridge that connected Richmond and another small town, Rosenburg. I remember hearing about a kid who was crossing the train bridge with his friends. A train came and knocked him into the river because he didn’t have time to get off the tracks. He died. I remember hearing that story on the news and every time we drove over the river, I would look out of the window and down into swirling brown water and think about that kid. I remember seeing his twisted bike on the news. That story stuck with me. I moved around a lot as a kid and the feeling of being trapped and the tension between the decision to stay put and the decision to go is constantly with me. I also met some train hoppers a few years back while street casting for a film project – their stories stayed in my mind as well. My grandfather hopped trains when he was young according to an old family story. A lot of different elements inspired me.
How did you start making films?
I wanted to make films for as long as I can remember primarily because I wanted others to see my view of the world – it was mostly a visual thing. I began making films in undergrad – I was a film and theater major. I only majored in film and theater because I didn’t have access to that world otherwise. If I would have had earlier access to a camera or had some sort of other clear path towards filmmaking I would have just studied writing, poetry, or photography.
Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?
The kids who were in the film were amazing – everyday with them was interesting and fun. The jokes that they would come up with were amusing. There’s a scene in the film where the boys are rapping – just having fun on set together and we filmed it. I liked catching them being themselves and I now have a lot of fun extra footage of that. I think the boys taking a selfie with my Super 8 camera was one of my favorite moments. I have a picture of it happening and the selfie itself.
What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?
I’m really looking forward to coming back down south after being in New York for awhile. I haven’t been south since we shot the film so it’ll be nice to connect with other filmmakers who come from the same atmospheres. And I’ll hopefully get some Blue Bell ice cream.
Why should someone see your film?
This is a really difficult question to answer. I think if anyone has a childhood friend that haunts their memory – this film can perhaps add to the feeling of someone sticking with you for no reason at all but every reason at the same time. I always hope that the film leaves people with a feeling, especially a feeling of a particular place or a place in time or a just a good vibe.