BORDER RADIO was Allison Anders's directorial debut, made in collaboration with Kurt Voss (who would later work with her, and John Doe, on 1999's SUGAR TOWN), and Dean Lent. The film is an early indication of Anders's low key, wittily observant style. The plot involves a desperate musician, Jeff (Chris D, of the L.A. punk band, The Flesheaters), who leaves his wife (played by Luana Anders, the director's sister) and child, and runs to Mexico to escape his creditors. Much of the film involves Luana's effort to track Jeff down, and smooth things over with the people who are after him. The film's charm lies in its rambling good humor, and in the natural charisma of its stars, including musician John Doe (of the L.A. punkers, X), and Dave Alvin (of the 1980s rockabilly band, The Blasters). Shot in black and white, BORDER RADIO has tone not unlike Jarmusch's STRANGER THAN PARADISE. Anders ably conveys her passion for music, and some essential truths about the life styles of those on the fringes of society, in this quirky, likable film.
An offbeat, low budget film which follows the exploits of three rock and roll performers who rob money from a club owner when he stiffs them. Leading the trio is Jeff (Chris D, of the L.A. punkers, The Flesheaters), a singer trapped in a dead end marriage, who steals a car and drives to Mexico to escape the hoodlums who are after him. The film, directed by Allison Anders (GAS FOOD LODGING), features performances by John Doe (of the L.A. punk band, X), and Dave Alvin (of the 1980s rockabilly band, The Blasters).
The film was shot in 16mm, at UCLA, over a span of three years. BORDER RADIO was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature. The film was shown at the American Film Institute (AFI) Indie Fest in Los Angeles on November 14, 1987 The 1980s rockabilly band Green on Red plays the band in the club. Codirector/cowriter Kurt Voss was romantically involved with Anders for a time. He eventually married actress Sammi Davis, who would later costar in Anders's segment of the film FOUR ROOMS (1995).
"...The songs are expectedly good, but what really impresses is the instrumental work, which lends considerable mood..." - 11/25/1987 Variety
"...BORDER RADIO quite simply is one of the best movies ever made about the world of rock music....It's such a pleasure to watch and such a gratifying triumph of imagination over money..." - 09/07/1988 Los Angeles Times, p.C4