Neo-Western crime thriller Hungry Dog Blues shows the dark side of Missouri | Movie reviews and news | Saint Louis
Jason Abrams’ dream was about to come true: he had a script, a crew, and financing, and he was about to return to his hometown of St. Louis to direct his film. It was January 2020 and the project was supposed to start in March.
But, like so many of the best-laid pre-pandemic plans, this one never materialized.
“It was like quite an odyssey,” he says. “We lost all our funding. We had to start all over again. »
Abrams rewrote the script – cutting 30 pages – and figured out how to make things work with a lot less money and still keep people healthy. By September 2021, he had completed it. The resulting film, Hungry Dog Blues, premiered at the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase where it cleaned up, winning awards for Best Sound, Best Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Direction, and Best Drama.
Cinema St. Louis also invited Abrams to show his film at the St. Louis International Film Festival, which begins next month. “It was super wild,” says Abrams. “It was our shot, and I wanted to take it.”
Set in rural Missouri, Hungry Dog Blues is a 75-minute neo-Western crime thriller that follows two stepbrothers who kidnap a witness set to testify against their father. It’s a story of morality and how far we will go to protect those we love.
“I’m really drawn to [stories about] the ambiguous nature of people,” he says, “and how we are willing as people to cross certain lines when we feel justified, and nothing seems more justified than protecting your loved one, especially your parents.
Born in the city of St. Louis, Abrams and his family moved to Eureka, where he attended high school and watched lots of movies – up to five a day. He did school drama, creating “awful” trailers for school plays. He then attended Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles and worked in the industry.
He directed short films and acted. But he kept thinking about making a feature film. Then he participated a few years ago in the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase. It really got him thinking about making a feature film — and doing it here.
“St. Louis, and Missouri in particular, is the landscape of my imagination,” Abrams says, explaining that he felt like this was his opportunity to represent the Midwest in a way that hadn’t never been done before.
Doing the movie here under difficult circumstances meant Abrams and others had to be scrappy to make things work. But he and the crew, many of whom lived here, were warmly welcomed while filming in Foristell, which helped immensely.
The film’s cinematographer still talks about the burgers — and local friends — at the bar they used to frequent, T&D Tavern.
During the continuous 21 days of acting and directing, Abrams says it was things like that that made the difference.
“We had a great time,” Abrams says. “It was super, super hard. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through.”
Catch Hungry Dog Blues at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, November 4 at the Gallery 6 cinema (30 Saint Louis Galleria) as part of the Saint-Louis International Film Festival. You can find more details at cinemastlouis.org/sliff/hungry-dog-blues.
This story was updated at 2:57 a.m. on October 28.
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