Backroad Blues


Sunday, Nov. 5 at 1:30pm

Over the past decade, SLIFF has screened a quartet of films by Northwest Missouri indie filmmaker Blake Eckard, a micro-budget master. In early 2018, Eckard’s entire body of work will be released in a DVD box set by cult specialist Synapse Films, and we’re celebrating that happy event by hosting the belated Missouri debut of “Backroad Blues,” his accomplished sophomore effort. When broke, constantly spieling drifter Chip (Tyler Messner) has a chance encounter with Kent (Alec Jennings), a Bootheel resident who's up north earning money to send home to his wife and daughter, he mercilessly exploits their uneasy friendship. After Chip’s intrusive behavior causes the pair to be given the boot from the farm where they’re working, the odd couple embarks on a road trip that ultimately leads to disaster. Shot over a mere seven days on 13 rolls of re-canned 16mm film stock — which allowed for just over two hours in raw running time, leaving virtually no opportunity for retakes — “Backroad Blues” was a true DIY production, with the writer/director rolling both camera and sound, and the two actors essentially serving as the entire crew. Calling the film "a minor masterpiece,” Dennis Grunes, author of "A Short Chronology of World Cinema," writes that “‘Backroad Blues’ is hilariously absurd and tragic — like America itself." SLIFF also features Eckard’s new film, “Coyotes Kill for Fun.”

89 min.

Directed by

Blake Eckard

Film Category

American Indie Spotlight Archival Presentations Show-Me Cinema


With director Eckard and actors Jennings and Messner.