My name is Faith
Granger and I am the creative force behind the full feature period hotrod
drama "DEUCE OF SPADES". Many have asked me over the last three
years, what inspired me to make this film, what my background in filmmaking
was and how I pulled it off. So let me tell you a little bit about the story
behind DEUCE OF SPADES.
info page comprises of four sections:
1. THE FILMMAKER : A little
about myself, the woman behind this film.
2. THE FILM : Everything
you want to know about my film.
3. THE CAST : Meet the talented actors who brought the script to life.
4. THE DEUCE: Basic
information about the deuce, the star of the film.
Originally from Nice, (France) I was raised in
Beirut where I survived a civil war and lived through many years of
hardship. This experience built character and made me who I am today. War
and destruction were sweeping the land all around me and I learned a
new appreciation for life, people and most of all, a loving God. Finding
refuge in spirituality and artistic creation, I have always been first and
foremost a songwriter, starting at the early age of 12. At age 15 I was
given a National Award for "Best New Artist". At age 18, I helped launch a FM
radio station that would become the number one FM station in Lebanon (and
last I checked, still is today).
Longing for peace and for artistic growth, I left Lebanon and traveled for
two years. I then landed in Los Angeles in the late eighties, with the goal
to work on my craft and pursue my music journey, and have been residing here
ever since. The US were to become my homeland and country, where I felt I
belonged most. But I do consider myself a citizen of the world with a heart
I continued to pursue music, my passion,
for many years, releasing two records on my independent label "Abrasive
Records" and performing over 500 live shows with my modern rock band
ALTERNATE FAITH (www.alternatefaith.com)
. A self taught multi-instrumentalist, I played guitar, sitar, oud, mandolin
on stage while delivering both western and eastern vocals. I also produced
and ran my own recording home studio. Because of the necessity to promote my
band I started toying with video editing, creating small promos for
ALTERNATE FAITH over the years. I discovered I had quite the knack for it
and truly enjoyed the process.
Writing was another of my love, and it
started with poetry when I was 12, soon moving to songwriting. I wrote a
first screenplay when I was 22 but was to not write another one until I
started working on DEUCE OF SPADES in January of 2007.
As a teenager, I enjoyed performing arts
and was in a theater group. Acting came very naturally to me. Becoming a
professional actress however never had much of an appeal to me and even
though I enjoyed acting, it could not possibly compare to the fulfillment I
felt when singing my own songs and pouring my heart out to an audience
through them. For that reason, I did not pursue a career in the film
industry when I came to Los Angeles, despite the opportunities.
Another passion of mine was
for anything mechanical. It started with motorcycles when I was 13 and soon
I was tearing my dad's car two barrel carburetor and cleaning it for him. I remember
walking into our livingroom one day, when I was 14, and asking my father,
out of the blue, to explain how a car worked. As he went on about pistons,
compression, ignition, cam and overhead valves, I found myself both
fascinated and delighted. I picked up a book about mechanics and started
devouring it. I believe my passion for cars came from my grandfather, who
was a mechanic himself and ran his own shop, quite successfully so, until a
tragic car crash claimed his life. He was only 32. I never had the chance to
meet him but he must be smiling upon me now as I carry the torch and create
this hotrod film, a tribute to the golden era of the automobile.
A hopeless idealist with a good head on her
shoulder, I am a "move mountain" "do it yourself" renaissance woman who
believes anything is possible, with a little faith and if you put your mind
to it. I enjoy learning and constantly need new challenges to keep my mind
stimulated. In short, everything you need to pull off a full feature period
film on a zero budget and entirely by yourself.
A self taught cinematographer, I found that
perhaps making films might have been my calling all along, but I was too
busy with music to hear it... It just seems to come naturally to me. I can
waltz in on a set, do everything from A to Z, film an entire scene without a
story board or even a shot list and waltz out and it will edit seamlessly
(as well as look very professional). This phenomenon has puzzled quite a few of my
industry 'pro' friends. "How does she do it?" commented Blue Nelson, a
filmmaker friend of mine who has worked in the film industry all his life:
"It costs us lots of money to make a shot look good and she does it
effortlessly, with no crew and on a zero budget".
Working on a zero budget can be real rough
by the way.
I have been known to film standing up for 12 hours straight, with no time to
break for food and on occasion no time for a bathroom break either. I will
then sleep for 3 to 4 hours and start again the very next day. One night I
had to sleep sitting in my truck after a 16 hour filming day and then filmed
all day the next day. Most people who see me work on my set wonder:
"You never stop for a second! You're moving so fast you are a blur: How do
you have the energy to do this?"... Blame it on Passion. It is the force
that drives me, and it drives me hard. But I am like a jalopy: I just got to
GO GO GO! Built for speed and tough as nails. I take a beating but I keep on
I usually work with a crew of one or two
people plus me. Although this was initially due to my lack of budget, it has
now become a preference and I enjoy traveling light. Less people on the set
means less distractions and it is easier to shoot "run and gun" this way,
flying under the radar. I have done quite a few shoots with no crew at all.
Just me and my actors. I actually
really like to film alone and favor it whenever possible. I currently have
over 1500 hours behind the camera and can frame, pull focus, monitor sound
and direct all simultaneously. In fact, I can't do it any other way, I have
the need to be completely submerged in the filming process when I shoot a
It has been extremely gratifying to see all
this HARD work pay off and witness my film project snow balling into epic
proportions, none of which I ever dreamt could be possible. Emmy award
winner and three times nominee Patrick Ciccone ("Independence Day",
"Sideways" and over 150 other major studio releases) offered to help mix the
film as soon as he saw it. Him and his team donated an amazing 5.1
theatrical surround sound mix, done at Electric Entertainment's top
Hollywood facility. In July of 2010, Sony Creative Software became aware of
my film, which was edited in Sony Vegas Pro, and immediately offered me an
endorsement. I have graced the cover of several magazines and been featured
on National and International television. I have been getting "hats down"
from both the filmmaking community and car community. With a six minute long standing ovation at the end of the WORLD
PREMIERE screening of DEUCE OF SPADES, and eloquent
feedback from the worldwide
audience who is calling the film a "Masterpiece" "timeless
Classic" "World class cult film" it is now proof that Little Faith + Big God
= Great results!!
"Thank you for making this movie - You
brought my youth back!" or even: "I didn't think it was possible but after
looking at your movie trailer, you have inspired me to finally get started
on my own movie and do it myself" and sometimes: "You inspired me to start
working again on my hotrod, which had been sitting in the garage for 5
years now, untouched. I can't wait to finish it and drive my roadster and I
am going to keep it old school, just like your car in the film"
If I can touch and inspire people with this
film, I will have already been blessed ten times over. This is the true
reward and I could not hope for
SPADES - A Faith Granger Film
Genre: Period Drama
Runtime: 128 minutes
Subtitled in: French,
Spanish, Italian, German , Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Dutch and English
(for the hard of hearing).
Some language, violence and adult situations.
November 15th, 2010.
Tag line: DO YOU BELIEVE IN SECOND CHANCES?
When a modern day hotrod girl finds a
mysterious letter dating back to the fifties hidden in her roadster, she is
left with nothing but questions… Who is Johnny Callaway?
She sets out to find the answers and retrace her deuce’s troubled past.
Fast hotrods, cool cats, gravity defying swing dancing and rockin’ retro music
all serve as a colorful backdrop to this heartfelt, inspiring story.
Discover an underground scene where counter culture is in, old school is cool
and nostalgia forever reigns.
I cannot start to talk about the film without
first mentioning my 1932 Ford Roadster, the love of my life. The
Deuce came into my life in August of 2006, after over 6 months of intense
searching for a 32 Roadster. I had always wanted one but finances did not
permit. Now that I was taking a break from music, I had the chance to save a
little money and decided it was time to bring a deuce into my life. For more
info on how I bought the car and the car itself please see section 4 (the
car). Now at the wheel of my Deuce, with a smile going from ear to ear, and
bugs in my teeth, I was actively cruising, meeting other hotrodders, going
to every car show, car meet, car cruise, car anything I could find and
basically, having a blast with my hotrod. I made many many many hotrod
friends that way. I especially enjoyed learning how to do repairs, and the
bonding between man and machine that results when your work on your own rod.
In January of 2007, the nation was
celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Deuce and I decided to contribute by
making a one hour home made documentary about women and 32 Roadsters, called
"LAST OF THE HIBOY GIRLS", honoring the female pioneers of hotrodding who
paved the way for women like me, such as Veda Orr. I played my documentary
next to my Deuce inside the Suede Palace at the Grand National Roadster
Show, where my car was displayed. To my surprise and delight, I found that
people kept flocking to watch it. I saw the huge smile on their faces and
how happy they were to see this film about a Deuce and I became inspired to
try my hand at a full feature film next, which would be, needless to say,
about a Deuce Roadster. At the time I thought this was by far the craziest
idea I had ever had and would be the most challenging undertaking to date.
So you bet I had to do it and I had to do it NOW: I got started on it a
mere two weeks later.
The rest is history!
Pulling out my screenplay
writer hat out of the closet once again, I started working on writing the
script. The idea, inspired by true events, was that a modern day hotrod girl stumbles upon a
barn find and buys it. While restoring it she accidentally discovers a love
letter dating back to 1955
in a sealed, stamped envelope. The letter was never mailed but rather, ended
stuck behind the seat, inside one of the quarter panels. Opening the letter
will be like opening Pandora's box for the girl. Her peaceful world is now
caught in a real whirlwind as she sets out to discover the truth behind the
mysterious letter and the dark past of her hotrod unravels. Who is Johnny Callaway, the man behind the letter? As
the girl starts to uncover the truth, we
retrace the steps of Johnny, who owned the DEUCE OF SPADES, the fastest
street car in the area from 1952 to 1955.
With over 90 minutes of
showing the 50's era, the film aims at bringing the old jalopies back into the
spotlight, resurrecting the "good old days" of hotrodding and bringing a
slice of Americana back to life. It is my tribute to all the hotrodders who
were a part of it. The film is a pure labor of Love and to retain the
integrity of my artistic vision, I knew I would have to do it myself and
keep investors, corporate funding and the film industry basically "out".
Which meant going out on a limb financially and dumping every last dime I
had (and quite a few more I didn't have), into the film. And putting myself
at financial jeopardy in the process. Retirement funds, savings, checking
funds were all spent in order to complete the film. It could have been very
tempting to accept help and sell out. But, turning down opportunities from investors who started knocking at my door
after hearing about the project, I remained true to my goal of making this
one of the most compelling
"do it yourself no budget completely independent period film of epic proportions". A
very ambitious undertaking in deed. Could it be done? One woman behind her
camera, doing it all, not unlike what Chaplin used to do, being involved in
every aspect of the pre-production, production and post production
process. My duties included: Writing the script, casting the actors,
scouting the period correct locations, purchasing all the gear needed and
learning how to use it, directing, producing, filming, being the Director of
Photography, doing set decors, props, hair and make up, wardrobe, as well as
special effects. Last but not least, editing the footage, doing the sound
design and providing some of the soundtrack and scoring. And I also got to
play a vital cameo part in the film: The deuce's owner in the modern days,
the hotrod girl. I would be united with my deuce on screen as
I am in real life.
I filmed this feature on weekends, working
around my day job schedule. I filmed a scene per day - aka two scenes per
weekend, which I would then promptly edit that same
week. I basically filmed non stop every single weekend for two years.
Every week-end without fail. I started rolling in October of 2007
and stopped rolling in October of 2009. In the process of making this film,
I actually got to make two films: After
buying my gear, I had to test it and teach myself the ropes to become my own
DP. So I wrote, produced and directed a first 35 minute short entitled "THE PARK BENCH",
which was completed in three months. Having successfully completed this test
run, I immediately started rolling on DEUCE OF SPADES.
Filming the flashback scenes was
extremely challenging. Finding period correct locations for free was a near
impossible task, but many miracles happened along the way and somehow,
providence seemed to always provide me with what I needed, just in time. It put people on my path that would become instrumental in
helping me fulfill my mission. It inspired strangers to contact me offering
their help. And it kept happening, over and over again. We called this
strange, wonderful phenomenon "the Deuce Of Spades miracles".
Just about everything in the film was
donated: Period correct locations, cars, crew and cast. Thanks to the help
of my many friends in the local hotrod community, I was able to pull off on
a ZERO budget, what it would cost a major studio a good million dollars to film,
if not more.
In the end, my extreme dedication, tenacity
and loyalty to the project would pay off.
After a year spent in post
production, DEUCE OF SPADES was edited to a 128 minute length, ranking in length right alongside period dramas
such as "Fried Green Tomatoes", "The Notebook", "Master and
Commander", "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
etc... It features about 65% of period flashbacks and 35% modern days
scenes. Included in the film are a 1955 flashback dragstrip scene, two 1953
flashback street racing scenes, including a cop and jalopy chase, a 1955 night
deadly street race and phenonemal crash, 1953 flashback gas
station scene, 1953 flashback dry lake racing scene, 1953 flashback swing
dancing (featuring the world's champion Lindy Hop dancers). In the modern
day section: A car show, dry lake racing (STCA), a car meet,
cruise and more...
DEUCE OF SPADES is truly a
hotrod movie at the core. Made by a hotrodder, portraying the car culture of yesterday and today, it
promises to delight car enthusiasts worldwide and has already established itself as a
one-of-its-kind cult film. But DEUCE OF SPADES also goes well beyond
hotrods: The compelling plot and powerful human interest story make it a
promising candidate for broad appeal, thus re-introducing the old hotrods to the general
public. Initial Test Screenings showed that male and female audiences alike
loved the film and preliminary ratings came out with an amazing 9 stars
out of 10!! 95% of DVD buyers who attended the screenings stated they wanted
to buy the DVD, see the film over and over again and wanted to also go see
it on the big screen.
In May of 2010, NETFLIX,
America's largest film rental company, arbitrarily decided to add DEUCE OF SPADES to their film
listings! Despite the fact it was not yet completed nor ever submitted to
them!! As the
worldwide Buzz about DEUCE OF SPADES continues to grow each day, the
'ambitious and daring indie no budget film entirely done by a single woman
with a vision', is rising to the top and gaining pro level status, and in
doing so continues to inspire. It is living proof that Dreams can come true,
with hard work... And a little faith!
On November 14th, 2010,
DEUCE OF SPADES opened up at the oldest running theater in the country:
Fillmore's very own Towne Theater (built in 1916).
People lined up for
over an hour to attempt to get tickets to see the film but both
screenings had already long sold out. The historic downtown area of
Fillmore, CA, where some of the film action takes place, was closed to
traffic for the event and Central street was lined up with hotrods,
looking just like it used to back in the days. Bands featured in the
film performed cuts from the soundtrack on the steps of the City Hall
and several thousand people crowded the entrance of the theater to catch
a glimpse of the stars of the film roll in in gorgeous classic cars and
walk the red carpet. With a World Premiere event worthy of any Hollywood
big studio, DEUCE OF SPADES was off with a big bang, promising to become
the Super Nova of hot rod films.
With a large
cast comprising of well over 140 talented actors, DEUCE OF SPADES
features up and coming Hollywood talents. The cast has major studio caliber and all
have donated their time and labor to the cause. A hard core, dedicated
bunch, the young actors oftentimes helped me in moving gear, preparing sets,
setting up lights and more. Conditions on the set were rough at best,
and sometimes outright horrible, yet none of my actors quit on me. In fact
it seemed they would have followed me to the edge of the earth and jumped
off it with me, had I just asked. The boys once were forced to sleep
in a trailer without any A/C while filming in the desert in August, with
temps soaring at over 115 F and to shower out of a garden hose. None of them
ever snapped, or even complained once. Tim McReynolds, our lead man, slept on a cot
under the stars many many nights, sometimes sleeping next to the gear to
guard it. On the set we had the best vibe, both cast and crew comprised of
truly wonderful people and I was blessed to work with them for the past two
The main cast
Faith Granger......................... FAITH
Alexandra Holder..................... BETTIE THOMPSON (Johnny's girl)
Kyle Clifford........................... ART DELANEY (Johnny's best friend)
Jordan Warren.........................TOMMY MILLER (Johnny's buddy and Saugus
Gary Miller Youst......................JOHNNY CALLAWAY
Nathan Ramirez........................JOHNNY CALLAWAY
Carol-Lynn Campbell..................BETTIE THOMPSON
Kristen Findley.........................SANDY (Art's girl)
Alana Stites ...........................PEGGIE (Bettie's friend)
Frank O'Leary..........................TONI CROSCIATO aka "FRESNO" (Johnny's
Peggy Sue Honeyman Scott...... JEANNE
CALLAWAY (Johnny's mother)
Wes Kemp...............................JAMES CALLAWAY (Johnny's father)
APPEARANCES & CAMEOS:
Gene Winfield......................... GENE WINFIELD
Bill Hines.................................BILL HINES
The real star of the film is the undoubtedly my Deuce. The Deuce originated
from Minnesota, a restoration project that remained a rolling chassis unfinished project from the early
seventies until 2002. After changing hands no less than 9 times it landed in
Long Beach, California were I discovered it. An unexpected
move forcing the current owner to sell all his hotrods, I was extremely excited
to make an offer and snatch it from under the nose of three
other buyers. After taking the Deuce for a test drive, and
immediately feeling "right at home" behind it's 53 Chevy
custom steering wheel, I knew "he" was "the One".
It was a
perfect match and pretty much love at first sight. Since
then, the Roadster and I have become inseparable. Although I
do have a utility truck for everyday driving, I find myself
taking the deuce out a good three times a week, whether it
be to drive to work, go cruising or even simply run errands.
Over the last three years, I have done quite a bit of work on it,
most of it myself with the help of friends. I still have everything to learn
but I am learning fast. Many improvements were implemented: I gradually
reverted it back to a 50's
period correct look, replacing the radial tires with tall skinnies bias plys,
bumping up the rear wheel size to 16 inch while keeping the
15 inch in the front. I put a 1932 plate on it, an old
school license plate light, replaced the alternator with a period correct powergen,
restored the fifties Rochester tri-power and got it running
again, replaced the rubber lines with hard line, had the front suspension and steering shaft
done (this work was done at a pro shop), put glass packs on it,
redid the truck panels with nostalgia nogahide, redid the
finish on the instrument cluster panel, the hair pins, the
headers. Two volunteers from the Gene Winfield race
team came to help me tear out every electrical wire and
entirely redo the wire harness. I put old school cloth
covered wires under the hood, doing all connections the old
fashioned way, no plastic and no crimping. Last but not
least, I prepped and reprimered the body and had a painter give it a dull
gloss black paint job. The deuce then was sent for
carpeting. It was now ready for the film.
The Deuce sports a 1953 Chevy steering
wheel with a very special custom horn button sporting a Spade in it (hence
its nickname the "DEUCE OF SPADES"). It also features original '41 brakes in the
front with Buick finned drums, an original frame, nose and grill insert,
original 1932 radiator and gas tank, louvered original hood with custom
solid sides. Gauges are Stewart Warner and I polished the gauge insert as
well as my hair pins, to give them a cool, faded bare metal look. The
Roadster is understated with no billet of any kind on it and very little
chrome. It has no pinstriping either. Elegant yet 'jalopy-like' it is very
nostalgia and reminiscent of the mid fifties, looking very similar to
the '32 Roadster portrayed in the 50's hotrod flick "The Devil On Wheels".
The Deuce is currently powered by a small block overhead valve engine, Chevy
made, with old school Edelbrock finned valve covers and a mid fifties Rochester
true tri-power. I have been driving it without a windshield
for nearly three years now.
If I made this film and
filmmaker, it is probably solely because of my Deuce. Without the Deuce I would
have never made a documentary and I would then never have been inspired to
make a hotrod film, and become a filmmaker in the process. This will be my
biggest accomplishment to date and by far the most exciting adventure I
ever embarked on. The journey is not over quite yet as I strive each day to
spread the word about this very special film. One would think all this hard work is more than anyone can
handle in a lifetime. Yet I recently found myself compelled to write down ideas for....
With a little luck, if all goes well,
maybe, just maybe, one day I will film that, too.
Thank you for your support and for helping
me get the word out about this worthy endeavor.