Inspired By: Sydney Freeland On C.S. Lewis, Casablanca, and Drunktown’s Finest

Inspired By: Sydney Freeland On C.S. Lewis, Casablanca, and Drunktown's Finest

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Director Sydney Freeland's tenacity to make Drunktown's Finest was born from a misguided news story. After seeing her hometown of Gallup, New Mexico, portrayed as "Drunktown, USA" she felt compelled to offer a corrective. Enter Drunktown's Finest, an unwaveringly honest drama that sheds light on the southwest's Navajo Nation through the lenses of three disparate characters–a transsexual aspiring model, a man headed off to basic training, and a Christian woman. 

Below, Sydney Freeland offers up some of the sources of inspiration that encouraged the making of her film, which screens at Sundance London April 24-26. Purchase Tickets.

Music: "The film soundtrack to The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. I listened to this constantly while writing Drunktown’s Finest."

Book: "1491 by Charles C. Mann and A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. Both of these books have changed the way I look at the world. I love when a book can do that."

Movie: "Casablanca. The writing in this film is fantastic."

Location: "My home state of New Mexico. Best sunsets in the universe."

Favorite UK Born Person: "Without question, C.S. Lewis. I didn’t have a TV until I was about 12, so I did a fair amount of reading. When I was about 8, a family friend from Switzerland sent me a boxed set of The Chronicles of Narnia. I fell in love with the series and I feel like those books have been very influential on my own writing."