Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Faith Granger Interview


                                              Photo by Eric Callero

If you're just awakening from your 1999 New Years party hangover, welcome  back! Some fun stuff happened while you were out. For one thing, a whirlwind named Faith Granger blew in from Europe and made a grassroots hot rod film, named for it's central character: "Deuce of  Spades" - a traditional '32 highboy roadster. The car is owned by  Faith and she does work on it herself (including a total re-wire, during  filming). In my typical Forrest Gump fashion, I stumbled into the path of the storm and found  myself compelled to help out with one of the early US press releases of the film (Trivia factoid: I wrote and performed a guitar piece  for the soundtrack that ended up on the cutting room floor).

The calm before the mob scene at the Ionia Theatre's World Premiere of Deuce Of Spades
Photo by Kelly Lynne

This was a true grassroots effort, with Faith writing, directing,  producing, acting, building sets, editing, scoring the soundtrack, making sandwiches, recruiting volunteers and sacrificing untold credit cards in an attempt to bring the Golden Era of hotrodding to the big  screen. But she did it. The big screen premiere was front cover news, covered by all of the (previously skeptical) magazines, making the debut all the sweeter. Besides being booked at select theatres, the film has also been an instant hit on DVD, with sales outpacing most indie films sales records.

Curiosity got the best of me and I placed a call to Faith to find out how 
she was recovering from all the excitement.

Hey Faith. It's Scotty, checking in to see how you're holding up. What's
going on?

Hi Scotty. I am sorry I can not hear you well... I am  driving.

I don't hear any rowdy exhaust. Are you driving the  roadster?

No, I am driving a motor home! An RV, they call it. I bought it and am 
seeing aaaaall  of America!

What? (Lots of static and breaking up) Where are you?

I am somewhere in New Mexico, on I-40.

That would be America, allright. What's going on? Are the police  chasing

No... I am on a ten months tour to promote the film! I am living in this RV
and a truck is caravanning with me, pulling the Deuce of Spades in an
enclosed trailer. We just screened the film at the Viva Las Vegas show and are on our way to Arkansas for the next show!

Okay, so much for recuperating... How'd it go in Vegas?

It was awesome! We now have a professional digital theatrical master of the
film and it looks killer on the big screen!

How did this tour come about?

The hot rod community has rolled up its sleeves and is bringing the film to the big screen in their communities. Basically we are bypassing the big movie studios system altogether! Car clubs are contacting me to get legal
permission to organize "Show and Shine and DEUCE OF SPADES screening" special events. I help them with advice and planning, give them legal clearance, and whenever possible, I also make a personal appearance with the deuce, introducing the film and doing question and answer sessions as well as signings after each showing. So far, the events have been a great success. Everybody is having a blast and leaving the events with a renewed passion for the hobby!

That's so cool that the grassroots nature of the project is keeping its 
momentum going! You know that's what I live for...

Yes, I know. It is the only way I would want to do this, myself! It is a very beautiful thing. The people are demanding it and promoters are giving
them what they want. Everyone is happy!

Wow. Could you have even dreamed of this, when you were growing up in 
France? Were you always into cars? And into filmmaking?

My grandfather was a car electrician who had a very successful shop in the
forties. I must have his genes, because I was always into cars and into 
mechanics, ever since I was a little girl. My father worked for the French 
embassy so we moved to Beirut, Lebanon. There were no road rules there, so he taught me how to drive when I was only eleven! Him and I used to tinker on his car all the time. I remember it had a double barrel carburetor (and I
took it apart more than once). I would read books about mechanics while in
class (I would hide them under my desk) and after tinkering with motorcycles a bit, I decided I was ready to try to tackle building a car. But with the war, we just couldn't get the parts to build the cool car I had in mind. So I had to put the idea of owning a hotrod on the back burner... For 30 years!! As far as filmmaking goes, I have always been very artistic but my focus was solely music. It was my deuce that inspired me to want to tackle
filmmaking next, because I wanted to bring the jalopies back to the big screen and tell their story.

And look at you now. First time filmmaker and you come out of the gate 
with a winner! Amazing. 'Faith' is SO appropriate...

(More laughter) The film is getting great reviews everywhere in the world!
I know the US media was very skeptical at first about my completing the 
film and whether it would be any good, but after seeing it, they have now
become believers: Quotes like "Best hot rod film since American  Graffiti" are not given to a film everyday. One editor kept saying "This film is  KILLER -

So you're hitting it hard, all this year. What then? You know, if you 
survive this tour?

I might have to take a little break (Break?? What's that???). Assess if I
have the means and energy/health to tackle another one and sustain another three years of physical abuse (no sleep, no food, working on my feet 16  hours a day to film). The sequel has already been written and everybody is asking for a sequel to the film. We all want to spend more time with the characters we have come to love so much, Johnny, Art, Tommy... But if I am to make a sequel, the hot rod community better get fully behind me this time, cause last time it was so hard to get cars, I almost gave up. I will need real support, more cars, new locations and... A CREW! Yeah a small crew sure would be nice (laughs).  So I guess we will see what the Big Guy upstairs has in mind for me, for all of us.

Yeah, we'll see. And meanwhile, you're seeing  America...

(laughing again) Yes! When we picked up the trailer in Phoenix, there was a
big car cruise underway, downtown - their big annual cruise  - and these
muscle cars are doing burnouts! I am sitting in the Deuce of Spades, just
watching these wild burnouts by these muscle cars The crowd started to egg me on: 'Come on, do a burnout!', you know. My first one surprised the heck
out of them. You could hear the clapping and huge cheering traveling across
two city blocks! I did about 10 more after that. The cops were enjoying the show and letting us have our way in downtown Phoenix that night. Most
fun I have had at a car event in years! (laughs)

That's my America... Glad you treated them to a real 'traditional' 
burnout! Ha! Will we be having this kind of fun in the future, in your opinion?

I think people will always love old cars - probably only a total gas 
shortage would stop us from driving them. But I worry that the new  generation of hotrodders are too cliquish and scare many good people away. I love the old timers because they welcome new comers to the hobby with  open arms. And if our hobby is to stay alive, we can't discourage new comers from getting involved: The hobby needs new blood.. Who knows what the new comer may bring to the hobby? If I had let the nasty people on some  of those hot rod forums discourage me from contributing to the hobby (and God  knows they tried), the hot rod community would have been deprived of a great new hot rod film. So always be nice to new comers, cause they might turn out to be the chicken that will lay the golden egg. My film has already inspired so many to renew their passion and start to work on their cars again, drive them more, and even take the plunge on buying a new project... I get emails with such testimonies every day. Just as American Graffiti revitalized the hobby in the seventies, I believe Deuce Of Spades has the power to inspire many, bring back tradition and give the hobby the energy power boost it needs. Now what are you doing still reading this? Turn your computer  off, get back to the garage and start wrenching!

Yes maam! But first, if you were a car, what kind would you be?

(long belly laugh)... (catching breath)... Scotty! ... That was a dumb
question, man! The Deuce of Spades!

                                               Photo by Eric Callero
And that's when we lost our phone connection for good. She's out there somewhere, probably headed toward your town. Here's the latest tour itinerary from Faith's website:

To contact filmmaker about organizing a DEUCE OF SPADES screening in your town, please email FAITH GRANGER at faithgrangerfilm@aol.com (serious booking enquiries only please).

                      Keep updated at: http://www.deuceofspadesmovie.com/