“An Interview with the Vannin’ Guys”
Directors, Nick Nummerdor and Andrew Morgan, delighted us by taking time to speak with Charlie LaRose, photojournalist to our festival, about the making of Vannin’, a documentary about custom vans and the vannin’ lifestyle. We’re definitely excited to view their film, and even more excited to see them roll up in their customized, decked out classic 70s van.
Andrew: Haha, oh man, neither of us that I know of. Nick, is there something I don’t know?
Nick: Haha, Lynn and Dale didn’t reveal those secrets to me.
Charlie: Were either one of you two familiar with vannin’ culture prior to the making of Vannin’ ? If not, how were you introduced to this?
Andrew: We weren’t familiar with the culture itself…the way we got into it was through our buddy who had a 1977 Dodge Van that we would go around and have a ton of fun in. Then I bought a 1973 Dodge van, so then there were two of us with vans, and basically we got online to look around on, “how to,” sites on how to customize vans and through that we were quickly introduced to the culture of vans that you see in the film.
Nick: Phil Lynott, lead singer for the band Thin Lizzy.
Andrew: John Carpenter, the film director.
Charlie: What are your top favorite films that focus on any type of automotive culture, or your favorite movie that has your favorite automobile in it?
Andrew: I guess mine would be Easy Rider (1969), the classic.
Charlie: Would you like to share a story/memorable experience that isn’t featured in your documentary?
Nick: They have this thing at the Van Nationals called, “Mr. & Mrs. Nats,” and its basically like a nudie show where volunteers get up on the stage and dance late on a Friday night. It was kind of funny because you’re not supposed to have cameras out or shoot it due to social media now these days. In the old days they would just have a wet t-shirt contest and it was no big deal…we kind of had this moral decision to make that night on how we were going to document it or if we should document it. What we ended up doing was shooting just a portion of it and not using it at all.
Charlie: Has vannin’ culture and the vannin’ festivals now become part of your life and represent a good portion of who you are as individuals?
Andrew: For me at this point I would have to say yes. We had such a great time getting to know all these people and the fact that I own a van and my friend owns a van it’s something that I’m going to continue to do. I actually joined one of the clubs in the area, Midwest Vans Limited, who were featured heavily in the film. So now I’m part of carrying the tradition and it’s definitely as much fun as it looks in the film.
Charlie: What was one of the most surprising things you saw in someone’s van?
Andrew: One of the weirdest things I’ve seen in a van was at this festival in Canada. There was this big white van decked out…the whole interior looked like a perfect lodge out of an L.L. Bean catalog and on top of all of that there was this very weird mannequin laying in a bed that went unexplained. It was definitely creepy. But hey, to each their own, and this is definitely a big part of the vannin’ culture.
Nick: I would say just in general there are just things that are way overboard, such as themes that get crazy. Let’s say there’s a van with a pirate theme, and you just look and think, “How many more pirates could you possibly fit inside that van?” I knew when I saw the Ted Nugent van I had to talk to the guy and ask him what it’s about…he’s in the film, he decided on the Ted Nugent theme after meeting him at a gun show years ago and from that one meeting he decided to have this hunting/Ted Nugent themed van. It was pretty awesome!
Charlie: If you could drive to the AutoMoto Film & Arts Festival in Detroit in any vehicle, what type of vehicle would you roll up in?
Andrew: A van! My van, which may actually be a reality. It’s a 1973 Dodge Tradesman van, very few windows, two port hole windows in the back. I’m redoing the interior so it has a little bit of wood flooring and a little bit of carpet and two benches on each side. It has 70s carpet I found…it’s a green van with black and yellow graphics that run up the side of it. Hopefully, it will make the trip from Chicago.
Charlie: Do you have anymore film projects in the making that we can look forward to in the future?
Nick: We have a couple of projects in pre-production, one is a documentary on public skate parks the other is a Michigan subculture documentary on motorcycle hill climbs, ice fishing, just kind of how people spend their time when they have awesome nature resources.
Andrew: We both grew up in Michigan as life long friends and the projects that we’re working on is going to feature a bunch of vignettes on various subcultures we grew up around.
Charlie: We look forward to seeing you two in Detroit, anything else you want to add to this interview?
Andrew: We’re looking forward to the festival! There’s this club in Detroit called, “Action Vans,” and they’re trying to organize some van crews to drive out and park out in front of the theater. Should be a blast! Can’t wait!