Alison is a project that has been a long standing passion of mine and has made much joy and trouble for me. My film Little Red Riding Hood was where it all largely began. That film, a twisted, macabre humored and pop culture influenced retelling of the famous fairy tale, was the first film I made that I can say I was quite proud of and very much established my eclectic sensibilities as a filmmaker. It tells the story of a young girl and her torment by and eventual revenge against a fiend called the Wolf, who isn't really a wolf at all but a perverted degenerate with a taste for cannibalism. Little Red Riding Hood won many admirers with its unique mix of twisted mythology, feminism, socially subversive and perverted humor and loads of influence from my cinematic obsessions. Afterward, especially after the disappointment of my following film Dream House, I was eager to make another movie that expanded upon Red's highly potent formula and I decided that Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland was ripe for such a treatment. The original version, however, that I developed in 2007 and 2008 as a short film before, was probably simply not good enough. It was somewhat stale and was a mere rehash of Little Red Riding Hood and a film my friends and I worked on called No Place Like Home. Nonetheless I tried to push to get the film made in 2008 but it did not end well as the actress I had hired decided that the project wasn't worth her time and walked off set after shooting only one scene. But a tenacious filmmaker seldom lets go of a project he's obsessed with and so I wrote a new script and expanded the concept, retitling it Alison in Wonderland and then Alison, adding a stronger narrative and more socially relevant elements. Guillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth was a starting point for me.
The film changes the story's setting from the 19th century England to the more relevant early 21st America world we now live in, a world in some ways just as backwards as Lewis Caroll's Wonderland. I will admit that Carroll's story has been done to death on a narrative level, which I was I feel the only way to make it new again is to filter it through the modern zeitgeist. It begs the question, "In a world gone mad, what is the right thing to do?". Lewis Carroll's basic story is really just a springing board here for this bigger picture. The best works that seem to resonate the most with people are works that a good mix of old and new ala Star Wars, with influence from and reverence to the past but enough of a new, hip spin to make it exciting. But of course the biggest influence on this film is my previous Little Red Riding Hood. One of the most fun things for an artist or filmmaker to do is to play around with a concept, to refine and perfect it. With Red Riding Hood, I sort of invented a type of a movie that people seemed to respond positively to: a "fractured fairy tale" film with an offbeat, grotesque quality, pop culture influence and a ferociously macabre sense of humor. It was merely an inception of sorts. Once something's been invented is when the fun really begins, you can then have fun with it, fool around with it and create a project that is expanded but more refined. Little Red Riding Hood was just the sketch, Alison is the painting.
Alison is more like an evolution of Little Red Riding Hood, both are similar on a narrative level, thematically and spiritually but Alison will boast more sophistication in every respect. On some level it will be sort of the ultimate low budget Carrozza film and Gen-Y Films production with many of my previous films' motifs: an epic of teen angst, classical music, talking puppets, medieval swordfights, politics and twisted hermetic sociopaths with gay sex slaves. After five years of hard work, the film is finally complete and I have something significant to show for it: a completed independent feature film. I won't lie, it was a hard, Murphy's Law sort of road getting there: crew proved unreliable, actors bailed, hurricanes interrupted shooting, computers died and early edits disappointed but in the end, at the finish line, I wound up making a film I can say I am proud of and is my finest to date. What was also invaluable was how much I learned about making movies while I was doing this, it will serve me well in future endeavors. It was an absolute grand privilege to have been able to make this film and I hope it resonates with you, the audience, the same way it resonates with its creator.
-Jules L. Carrozza, writer/director/producer
Copyright Gen-Y Films, 2007-16.