ANCHORAGE currently has a live fundraising campaign via Seed & Spark to cover the costs of post production. Perks for contributions include tickets to the impending live immersive experience tie-in coming this spring. To help Jacob and John on their road to the big screen – pledge here. You can find out more information on the film’s Instagram and Facebook page.
Scott Monahan and Dakota Loesch are on the road to greatness. Over the past several years, the Los Angeles immersive scene has come to know them as two of the most dynamic, captivating actors around, consistently turning in performances of dizzying spontaneity, inexhaustible magnetism, and searing emotional honesty that add another level of immersion in and of themselves to whatever show they’re a part of. As company members of LA immersive powerhouse Ceaseless Fun, (both can be seen next in the company’s upcoming experience Everyone Agrees It’s About to Explode) the two met and instantly struck up a rapport. It didn’t take long for them to realize they wanted to apply their considerable chemistry and talents towards making a film; not just as performers, but as writer (Loesch) and director (Monahan). Fast forward a few years, and the budding filmmakers have completed principle photography for Anchorage: a feature as much about their rough and tumble pasts as it is about their artistic futures. As Loesch emphatically puts it, “Immersive theatre saved our lives.”
Per the film’s website, Anchorage follows “Jacob (Monahan) and John (Loesch), two low-level Florida drug hustlers with a busted Crown Victoria and a dream. Driving a trunk full of opioids stuffed inside Teddy Bears towards Anchorage, Alaska, their plan is to cash-in big in the Land of Gold. That plan gets challenged by their surroundings, their shortcomings, and their tendency to dip into their own supply. A split-second act of violence somewhere in the California desert derails their trip and sets the brothers on a crash course with tragedy.” While on the surface Anchorage is a gritty, darkly comic road movie, at its heart Monahan and Loesch set out to make a film that could serve as an examination, rather than a glorification, of the opioid addiction crisis still spreading throughout the country, in hopes that it could further the dialogue on the human cost of the epidemic.
During production the duo drew constant inspiration from their extensive experience in immersive theater, often looking to the community as a prime resource for collaborators. Meredith Treinen, Creative Producer for Ceaseless Fun and solo creator of stellar experiences Grief and Re-Lease (the latter featured both Monahan and Loesch as performers) served as the film’s Associate Director. Treinen led the sort of experimental devising and rehearsal process usually employed in her immersive work to ensure the characters populating Anchorage, many of which are also brought to life by a contingent of faces that will be familiar to immersive audiences, feel as vital and nuanced as possible. It is only fitting that the duo plans to mount a live immersive theater companion piece here in Los Angeles this spring to compliment the film, giving audience members the chance to take an eventful ride with Jacob and John in their Crown Victoria (tickets are currently available as a perk for contributing to the Seed & Spark campaign).
Haunting had the privilege of taking a drive in this storied vehicle with Monahan and Loesch behind the wheel to discuss their recently launched funding initiative on Seed & Spark to help cover the costs associated with post production. The pair do a great job of explaining how exactly the money will be used, with the bulk of it going to ensure equitable pay for those providing quality work in the areas of editing, color correction, scoring, and sound mixing. As with most campaigns of this type, tiered contribution levels come with a variety of perks, from personalized shout outs to props from the shoot to tickets for the immersive tie-in to private screenings of the finished film and producing credits. As we drove through the night listening to them wax poetic about their time on set, experiences as first-time filmmakers, and their deep love for the immersive community, what comes across most is this endearing, unrestrained joy they obviously feel just to be talking about the Anchorage. How much pride they they have in their work, how grateful they are to those who helped them get to this point, how tickled they are as they trade off every quote and reference and anecdote, how elated they are to be truly, and without a hint of irony, living the dream. With plenty of road still ahead of them, that enthusiasm is unlikely to stall. This is going to be one wild trip, and you’re going to want to ride along.
Again, ANCHORAGE is holding a live fundraising campaign via Seed & Spark to cover the costs of post production. To help Jacob and John on their road to the big screen – pledge here. You can find out more information on the film’s Instagram and Facebook page.
Interview conducted by Chris Wollman
Filmed by Kevin Hsu
Edited by Kyle Peters
ANCHORAGE images courtesy of the film’s Director of Photography Erin Naifeh