Blog written by Holly Foreman

Every city has an underbelly, a side that most work hard to overlook. It’s that side of Phoenix that Running Wild Films examines with an upcoming group of films known as the Van Buren Anthology.

Locally notorious for its connection to the sex trades, Van Buren Street is the setting for five short films and one feature in production this spring and summer. Travis Mills, founder of RWF, wrote the first of the five films earlier a couple years ago. “Lady Cop” is the story of a female police officer having an affair with the owner of a seedy motel on Van Buren. It sparked the idea to write several short films based around this infamous street in Phoenix, and all deal with crime in some way.

“Hard Fighter” was written before the idea of the anthology was born, but fits in perfectly. We explore a complex interaction when a beaten down boxer is approached by a transsexual prostitute on the streets. Running Wild regular Jonathan Medina directs the story that will film this summer.

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We talked about “King’s Gambit” last week when discussing upcoming projects by Running Wild members. Kyle Gerkin was entrusted to write and direct this film completely on his own because of a shared love of film noir. The story shows an old man, crippled and reliant on a young Mexican girl, and exposes their evolving relationship.



Also discussed in last week’s blog was “Street People.” It just wrapped filming this past weekend and is directed by Michael J Hanelin. During the last IFP Breakout Challenge, “Street” was one of two scripts written by Travis and given to Gerkin (“King’s Gambit”) for development. The other was “Belly of the Whale” which Gerkin eventually chose. “Street People” was incorporated into the Van Buren Anthology because it’s the story of a young woman running away from something worse than a life on the streets.

A young man is seduced in a bar and follows the woman into a con. What happens from there isn’t what either expects. This fifth short film is titled “Girl in the Alley” and RWF has chosen Amy Searcy, one of Arizona’s leading female actors to direct this film. Its themes of crime and the complex relationships between men and women are central to the anthology.

The final part of the anthology is yet to be written. Travis Mills will direct, and the films will be premier late this summer. As always, Running Wild regulars James Alire and Parco Richardson are big parts of this project as well, so expect to see and hear the quality you’ve become accustomed to from Running Wild Films. Never one to shy away from a controversial subject, these films let us delve into the underground of the place we call home.