Allison Anders is an American film and TV director. Anders work has increasingly come to focus on her fascination with music, early Hollywood and the city of Los Angeles, past and present.
At eighteen, she moved to England, bartended at the infamous Hope & Anchor pub Islington during the pub rock scene and then returned to Los Angeles to raise her first child, musician Tiffany Anders. She attended the UCLA School of Theater Film and Television and was granted a Nicholl Fellowship by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Her screenplay “Lost Highway” (unrelated to the David Lynch film of the same title) also earned her the first prize Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award.
Her first film effort co-written and co-directed by Kurt Voss and Dean Lent was the post – punk “Border Radio”, which was nominated for Best First Feature of 1989 by the Independent Feature Project. Anders followed up with “Gas Food Lodging”, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in the dramatic competition 1992. She won a New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best New Director. The film received five Spirit Award nominations including Best Director and Best Screenplay, and actress Fairuza Balk won the Best Actress award. Gas Food Lodging also won the Deauville Film Festival Critics Award.
Her next film for Cineville was “Mi Vida Loca” (My Crazy Life), about girl gangs in Los Angeles; it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1993, and saw wide release in 1994. In 1995, she was awarded a “genius grant” by the MacArthur Foundation. This same year she collaborated with pals Alex Rockwell, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriquez in “Four Rooms” which was largely panned by critics, but now has a large cult following. Almost simultaneously, under the exec producer wing of Martin Scorsese Anders released “Grace of My Heart”. Set at the Brill Building, i’s the journey of a pop hit songwriter Denise Waverly (Illeana Douglas) who finds her own voice in the singer/songwriter era. Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach had their first collaboration on her film and were nominated for a Grammy Award for their song “God Give Me Strength” which has become a standard recorded by over a hundred artists. Illeana Douglas won a BAFTA nomination for her performance.
In 1998 she co-wrote and co-directed the film “Sugar Town” with Kurt Voss about the Los Angeles film and music industry, which starred several musical friends of Anders and Voss, including Duran Duran’s John Taylor, X singer John Doe, Spandau Ballet bassist Martin Kemp, and singer/actor Michael Des Barres. The film was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards, one for Best Film and one for best Newcomer for Jade Gordon. The film won the Fantasportoaward for Best Screenplay for Anders and Voss.
Her 2001 film “Things Behind the Sun”, dealing with the long-term aftermath of a rape, won an Emmy Award nomination for actor Don Cheadle for Best Supporting Actor, 3 Independent Spirit Award Nominations: Don Cheadle for Best Supporting Actor, Kim Dickens for Best Actress, and Best Film. She and co-writer Kurt Voss received a nomination for the Edgar Award. The film was awarded the SHINE Award as well as the prestigious Peabody Award .
Anders began directing shows for broadcast and cable television in 1999, including several episodes in the second and third seasons of Sex and the City, as well as episodes of Grosse Pointe and Cold Case, The L Word , Men In Trees, and What About Brian? In 2002 Anders received the Spirit Of Silver Lake Award from the Silver Lake Film Festival and in 2003 Anders became a Distinguished Professor at UC Santa Barbara where she teaches in the Film And Media Studies Department one quarter every year. 2007 saw the DVD release of Border Radio as part of the prestigious Criterion Collection.
Retrospectives of Anders work have been shown at Thessaloniki, Greece International Film Festival, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, a rock n roll festival in Sheffield, England, the Wexner Center Columbus, Ohio, Hof, Germany at the Hof International Film Festival, and The POW Women’s Film Festival, Portland, Oregon. Anders will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the second annual Louisville Flyover Festival in her native Kentucky.
Anders is the co-founder with musician daughter Tiffany Anders of the Don’t Knock The Rock Film And Music Festival in Los Angeles. In 2010 Anders with partner Terry Graham started an entertainment company together Revolution9.
Anders is the proud mother of Tiffany, Devon and Ruben Anders.