Welsh cult musician Gruff Rhys documents his latest musical road trip, retracing the fantastical American journey of his 18th Century relative, the explorer John Evans.
In search of a lost tribe of Welsh-speaking Native Americans, John Evans left Wales for America in 1792 with only $1.75 in his pocket. Alone and without a horse, he walked into the wilderness of the Great Plains of the Wild West and reappeared seven years later as Don Juan Evans.
During the course of his bizarre-yet-true adventure, Evans won the allegiances of the First Nation tribes of the Omaha and the Mandan. Swam with Alligators. Hunted Bison. Survived malaria, defected to the Spanish crown and single handedly appropriated North Dakota from the Canadians. Yet Evans’s greatest achievement was to create the map of the Missouri river used by Lewis and Clarke to help them discover the Pacific Ocean. Legend has it, he died broke and out of his mind in New Orleans at the tender age of 29 never knowing the impact of his life’s work.
American Interior is an investigative concert tour. Fiction, fact, fantasy, myth and music documentary collide as Rhys flies like an eagle and howls like a wolf while following in the footsteps of his (extremely) Great uncle.
Starting at Yale University’s Beinecke Library where Evans’s famous map is said to reside, Rhys fully immerses himself in concerts, recording sessions, and conversations with journalists, academics, psychologists, and locals on Evans’s route.
From Baltimore to St. Louis, up to the Mandan Reservation Casino and down the Mississippi basin to the Old Governor’s house in New Orleans, Rhys investigates Evans’s significance in American history, the true circumstances of his death, and the lost location of his final resting place.
Certificate: 12A Distributor: Soda Pictures
Dir. Gruff Rhys, UK, 2014, English | Welsh
Cast: Gruff Rhys, Kliph Scurlock, Virginia Carlson