Feature Films by AM

Mouth to Mouth

mouth to mouth movie film poster

“Trusting other people will put your
ass in jeopardy every time.”

How Sherry loses her virginity, her illusions and her lip ring in a road trip across Europe.Sherry is searching for a place to belong where she can still be herself. She thinks she has found this in SPARK – Street People Armed with Radical Knowledge. She takes off in SPARK’s camper van as they cross Europe recruiting a membership of the down and out. They arrive at a disused vineyard in Portugal that will be their paradise.Harry, the group’s leader, begins harvesting ripe grapes and ready minds through his own methods of hard work and punishment. The stakes are high within this volatile group. Two deaths ensure the submission of most of the recruits – but not Sherry, or the apparently craziest street person, Mad Ax.

Mad Ax is the least taken in by SPARK’s rhetoric. He is also in love with Sherry. Into this Shangri-la comes Sherry’s mother. Failing to persuade Sherry to leave, she decides that SPARK has more to offer than single parenthood in London. Disillusionment complete, Sherry stands up for what she knows is right, denounces SPARK, and escapes with Mad Ax into the unknown.


Train on the Brain

In what’s been called ‘The definitive train hopping doc’, filmmaker Alison Murray drops out of the rat race, grabs a camera, and hits the rails with other punk kids on a trans-continental freight train hopping adventure. On their odyssey they encounter a cast of hobos and runaways, scallywags and castaways. Amidst run-ins with the law, and surviving the perils of the elements, Alison weaves her narrative film over beautifully shot 8mm film and digital video with an old-time soundtrack by Beck (think Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly). Train On The Brain was originally produced for Channel 4 in the UK by Hellhound and MJW Productions.


 “An intimate, gritty and poetic adventure following the lives of carnies – traveling fairground workers who have abandoned the security of the “real world” for the refuge and variety of the road. Through the eyes of Hairy, the charismatic lesbian cotton-candy seller, we see a world of unlikely Romeos, easy love and fierce friendships that obscure personal hardship and troubled pasts. Often from an underclass that has few options, the carnies struggle with addiction, loneliness, poverty and shattered dreams, finding solace only in the company of their own, who accept them as they are. Some have worked the fairs for more than 50 years, some were born or escaped into it, but all are gripped by the romance of the bright midway lights, lyrically captured captured by director Alison Murray (Mouth to Mouth) in lush interludes of Kodachrome Super 8.” (Gisèle Gordon, Hot Docs

A collaboration with photographer Virginia Lee Hunter, based on her book. www.carnyamericanaonthemidway.com

Caprichosos de San Telmo

A portrait of the working class musicians and dancers of Buenos Aires’s San Telmo neighbourhood, who have channeled the city’s many cultural influences into the street performance called Murga.

Every year, a taxi driver named Pichi (Hector Roterio) assembles a group of locals to train for the annual parade. At first glance, they don’t look promising. Sergio has clearly led a hard life and has already lost some of his teeth, but turns out to be a surprisingly fluid dancer. Maria Eva tries to hold down an entry-level job, but she comes alive teaching murga moves to the new girls. Under her watchful eye, they practice the murga’s bigbeat rhythms and its accompanying steps. Murga is a remnant of Argentina’s former African communities, but is now practiced by anyone in the neighborhood who can surrender to its pull.

The Vault

Under Construction

Alison Murray


Alison Murray  is a Canadian/British screenwriter and director based  between Canada  and Argentina.  Currently Alison is developing a new fictional feature film, Los Vega, in collaboration with The Film Farm and  Jumbos Clown Room  in collaboration with Buffalo Gal Pictures.


Her latest feature documentary Caprichosos de San Telmo , which she shot on location in Buenos Aires, premiered in the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011 , and in the Buenos Aires  International Festival of Independent Film.


In 2007 Alison’s feature documentary Carny , following the secret life of fairground workers , broadcast on the Sundance Channel , Channel 4  UK  and TVO .  It premiered in the Hot Docs Festival , Toronto , and won best documentary in the Brooklyn International Film Festival.


2004 saw completion of  Mouth to Mouth, Alison’s first fictional feature film as writer and director .  Hellhound was associate producer of the project ,  executive produced by Atom Egoyan .  Starring Oscar Nominee Ellen Page , the film features Alison’s signature choreographic style , woven into a powerful narrative about a search for belonging .  The film premiered at the San Francisco International Film Festival and went on to win Best Feature Prizes at the Brooklyn International FIlm Festival , Berlin’s Britspotting Festival , and Festival D’ Annonay , France. Mouth to Mouth was released theatrically in the USA, UK, Canada, and France.


In 2003 Alison worked on an exciting micro budget collaboration with London based rapper Jonzi D. Aeroplane Man is a film adaptation of Jonzi D’s hit theatre show of the same name. It aired on Channel 4 UK. Aeroplane Man was the first production through HELLHOUND, marking the company’s inception.


In 2000 Alison completed Train on the Brain , an hour long documentary for Channel 4 UK and TV Ontario, in which she rode the rails across North America armed with a DV and a Super 8 Camera, following the lives of young hobos . The film won the audience prize at the Hot Springs Film Festival , and also screened at the Seattle Underground Film Festival and the Sheffield International Documentary Festival .  In June 2004 Train on the Brain screened to a huge audience at Glastonbury Festival .  A DVD of the film was released in  2007.


In 1999 Alison collaborated with theatre maker Marisa Carnesky on her controversial stage show,  Jewess Tattooess , creating the film elements of the show and working as a consultant director .  (Previously Alison made cameo appearances in Carnesky’s Grotesque Burlesque Revue!) In 20o5 Alison’s company Hellhound became co-producer of the award-winning theatrical Carnesky’s Ghost Train.


Alison’s short films have been receiving critical acclaim since Kissy Suzuki Suck in 1992 .  Challenging conceptions of female behaviour ,  it televised on Channel 4 UK and later in Europe , winning awards at international festivals .  This was followed by Wank Stallions , also a festival prizewinner.  Pantyhead in 1994 completed this trilogy vivisecting contemporary social attitudes . Pantyhead televised on Channel 4 UK and in Germany, and toured internationally in a program compiled by the Centre Georges Pompidou , Paris .  In 1995 Alison made Sleazeburger, shot on location at Coney Island, NYC .  The same year she made Horseplay for BBC 2 which explored  female friendship through dance.


Many of Alison’s films incorporate her unique approach to dance and in 1996 she received a Paul Hamlyn Award for Choreography .  Horseplay won a Silver Key at the International Art Film Festival in Slovakia, and also televised in Holland, Germany and Belgium .  Alison then made Bad Mood Woman, for Channel 4 UK, and Cat Food Woman, a sequel, for the opening of Hoxton’s Lux Cinema (London). In 1996 Alison directed Bloody Mess, in which violent screen fantasy meets real life responsibility, for BBC 2. Teenage Rampage, a look at ill-fated romance in South London, was for the 1996 Channel 4 series Midnight Underground . Bare Feet and Crazy Legs , exploring the African roots of jazz dance, was for the Arts Council of England.


Between 1996 and 2002 Alison directed over twenty music videos for British pop acts such as The Sugababes , Busted , and B*Witched , and was nominated for a CAD award for Best New Director in 1997 , and for Best Pop Video in 2003.


Alison’s artistic activities have spanned from video installations for nightclubs to choreography for the Royal Opera House Garden Venture .  She has staged two live theatre works – Decent Citizens and Blood , both in Belgium .  The Institute of Contemporary Art in London presented a retrospective of her films in 1997 , and again in 2004 .  Another retrospective of her work screened at the Tate Gallery  London in 1998 , and at Toronto’s Royal Theatre in 2007.


Alison studied dance and choreography before moving into film but continues her involvement in dance. Most recently she and her husband Carlos Boeri won First Place in the Buenos Aires Tango Championships 2014.

 photo Hernán Brusa


Sugababes – Stronger directed by Alison Murray

Mouth to Mouth 

Caprichosos de San Telmo


Train on the Brain


Caprichosos in London Argentina Film Festival

“the mot important thing in life is community – not money”

The Prisma UK


Caprichosos Filmmaker Magazine

At TIFF she premiered her Caprichosos, which is a documentary about the murga — what she calls “tango’s bastard cousin”.

Filmmaker Magazine


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