Alex Graham is a filmmaker pursuing both fiction and commercial work while enrolled in film courses at San Diego City College. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cyberpunk world of Life and Death in the Valley was inspired by a strange place called Mission Valley in San Diego, California, that is one of the city’s most densely populated areas, and maybe its least welcoming. There are no schools, few parks, no real destinations, just a vast intersection of artery roads and freeway ramps linking stacks of condominiums to other places. People roll into Mission Valley’s hot concrete parking lots for football games or movies, but they don’t know each other and they don’t stay. So this place offered itself up as a vision of the future without my having to do very much besides photograph it.
The story is a simple one about a man who has to choose between doing his job and doing the right thing. And my goal, probably unattained, was to revisit this classic old template, and to do so well, by focusing my very limited directorial abilities on getting the best performances possible and creating a hero the audience likes, a villain the audience hates, and an outcome that is uncertain.