How Brothers Jake and Conor Allyn Went From Making Home Videos to Shooting Feature Films

In our case, even if we're really clashing — and we for sure have — we ultimately care about each other and respect to one another. "There's money involved and people really care about the integrity of the project. Be that as it may, the brothers are hard pressed to remember a time they got into a genuine professional argument. That helps." There have been moments of tension while working on films, to be sure, though usually any differences have been resolved by the last time they yell "cut." "This can be a very contentious business," Conor says.
Margate House Films also helped back Netflix's Spanish-language musical drama "I'm No Longer Here," which is Mexico's international feature entry for the Oscars. Once Jake graduated and Conor and Rob returned to the States, the three Allyn men dove head first into expanding Margate House Films, a family owned and operated production company. The moniker is particularly meaningful to the brothers because it's named after the street they grew up on, which once serve as a backdrop for their home videos. Other titles from Margate House Films include the action thriller "Java Heat" featuring Mickey Rourke and "Rajah," a period epic starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers that's currently in post-production.
Their latest movie, "No Man's Land" — which IFC Films opened this weekend in select movie theaters and on demand — was directed by Conor and co-written by Jake, who also stars in the film. They hope audiences will come away with realistic and nuanced look at life along the U.S.-Mexico border, a region that's become a political flashpoint ever since Donald Trump started ranting about building a wall. The Western drama, set on the border of Texas and Mexico, grapples with issues such as immigration, family and culture.
In their free time, they began writing an Indonesian-language film called "Red and White," which spawned two sequels. Rob Allyn may have inspired his boys to appreciate cinema from a young age, but he didn't start working in the entertainment industry himself until later in life. Shortly after Conor graduated college, he joined his father overseas. All the while, Jake was studying at Cornell University and was on the receiving end of film snippets, behind-the-scenes clips and script drafts from his dad and brother's movie in Indonesia. Rob, 61, began his career as a political consultant in Jakarta, advising on political campaigns for presidential hopefuls in Indonesia.
Yet getting notes from your brother is one thing. It can be "extra challenging," Conor admits with a laugh. All three Allyns consider filmmaking a family affair. That being said, Jake and Conor expect to always be available to give the other feedback or reassurance. "But we're pretty used to it." Jake concurs: "Honestly, the worst is when he's right."” /> Your dad?
They even got savvy with special effects, setting off their own fireworks for dramatic flair. Child-friendly or not, the Mel Gibson epic that easily earned its R-rating instilled in the siblings a deep love of movies and inspired them to start making their own homemade films. As kids, they borrowed their parent's camcorder to capture footage around the block.
That's how Jake came to perform a monologue from "Braveheart" in his elementary school talent show while the other students were singing along to Aaron Carter songs.
Eventually, they aspire to join the pantheon of famous Hollywood filmmaking brothers like Joel and Ethan Coen, Mark and Jay Duplass and Josh and Benny Safdie.
When brothers Jake and Conor Allyn were growing up, they had something of an unusual family tradition.
"We've always been focused on the untold story rather than doing another version of something that's been told 20 times," Conor says.
"When that was over," Conor remembers, "we decided heavily. We could go find the next political campaign to work on. Or we could do this movie thing."
Conor and Jake Allyn have worked together professionally on several occasions, but "No Man's Land" marks the first time they've collaborated to the extent of writing, directing, producing and acting. Their dad was also integral in bringing "No Man's Land" to the big and small screen, securing investors from both Mexico and Texas and offering invaluable creative input. The film, which Jake originally wrote years ago, is especially personal to the brothers because it was inspired by their own trips across the border with their father in the '90s.
Their films are being seen by a wider audience than just mom and dad. The only difference? Nearly two decades later, Jake, 30, and Conor, 34, are still making what they refer to as personal home videos. Plus, they can cast well-known actors like George Lopez and Andie MacDowell instead of having to rely on their next-door neighbors.
Whenever they would go to the movies, their dad, Rob, had a tendency to choose something that wasn't exactly age-appropriate for his young kids.
"The director needs to be… That's not to say it's always smooth sailing during production. "As an actor, I can be selfish in that moment." I don't want to say emotionless, but you have to keep the ship running on set. You have to worry about everybody and everything." He considers for a moment. "It's tough," Jake says. Like any other siblings, they've been known to bicker from time to time.
"It would be tough to put all our eggs into each other's baskets every single time." "We definitely love the Duplass brothers because they do such a great job at making stuff together," Connor says, "But they also do things on their own." Similarly, the Allyn brothers hope to forge independent careers. "If we had to work on every script together, I think we'd put a lot of pressure on ourselves," Jake says.
For Jake and Conor, there's an established shorthand that would be nearly impossible to replicate with another actor, director or writer. Jake jokes, "We shared a bedroom longer than we needed to." Hollywood is famously cutthroat, so it helps to have someone on set who knows what you're trying to accomplish. Though they are four years apart, they've always had a close relationship.

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