LOS ANGELES • Local filmmakers Glenn Payne and Casey Dillard are headed west.
The collaborative duo, responsible for such projects filmed in Northeast Mississippi as “Stagrassle Paranormal” and “Earthrise” completed their latest film, “Driven” at the end of 2018.
With local screenings in Tupelo and at the Oxford Film Festival under their belts, the next event on the horizon will be backlit by the bright lights of Hollywood.
The feature-length film will be screened at the 2019 Dances with Films Festival at the historic Grauman’s (TCL) Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.
“It’s kind of hard to believe that we’ll be showing our film at such an iconic theatre in the heart of Hollywood,” Payne said of the festival’s announcement. “There will be so much history all around us. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is right outside the Chinese Theatre, so we’ll get to see handprints from legends like Jimmy Stewart, Marilyn Monroe and more. It’s incredibly exciting.”
The film, which stars Dillard and actor Richard Speight Jr. (“Supernatural,” “Band of Brothers”), filmed in and around Tupelo in January 2018.
Dillard’s car acts as the set for the film, the entirety of which was filmed with the two actors inside.
“In what I would describe as the most misguided idea we’ve ever had, Glenn and I thought an entire movie that takes place inside a car would be really easy to make,” Dillard said of writing the script. “We were very wrong, and I want to make sure that any other filmmaker that has that idea knows that. It’s a beast.”
“I thought it would be incredibly simple,” Payne added. “And then as Casey actually wrote the story, I realized the car had to be somewhere at all times. So, instead of one location, we ended up with around 20, which is the most locations I’ve ever had in filming. So we went from something that, I thought, would be very basic to something that’s been incredibly complex logistically.”
The full-length feature, a first for Dillard to pen, follows the night of an Uber-esque driver who picks up an out-of-towner, Roger, on a mission.
“Roger is a wealthy fellow who’s arrived to end the multi-generational family curse begun by his great-great-grandfather,” Speight said.
Speight said after meeting Payne and Dillard several years ago at a film festival, he knew them to be people to get the job done.
“They’re prolific filmmakers that make a lot of stuff. I thought it was a great opportunity to collaborate, come down here and do something that I thought was really cool and had a lot of potential,” he said in Tupelo in 2018. “An indie project, people are making for the love of the game. Nobody is making a ton of money on this thing, right? You’re doing it because you love making films, and I’m the same. I like making my own projects. I’m a person who likes to generate product and create my own art and I like people who think that way and do the same. They are those people. The material is really good. I like Glenn and Casey, but if I didn’t like the script, I wouldn’t come down here to do it.”
The Hollywood premiere of the film will be Saturday, June 15, at 11:45 p.m. PST with Payne, Dillard and Speight in attendance for a Q&A following the screening.
“People often ask how they can see ‘Driven.’ We tell them we’re doing film festivals right now and we hope to have distribution info soon,” Payne said. “Getting into a larger film festival is how you connect with prominent distributors. This is that type of festival. That being said, we hope this will be the launching pad we’ve been waiting on.
“If we can get the movie in front of the right industry people while we’re there we’ll have a chance at securing a wider distribution plan. Fingers crossed. As always, we want to thank everyone in Tupelo that’s been so supportive of us throughout this entire process.”
“Driven” has social media accounts set up with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – @DrivenMovie – where you can follow the filmmakers’ process of what went into production and how they are working to get the movie in front of audiences everywhere.