A young, abandoned trainhopper (Samuel) spend years aimlessly riding on freight trains across the United States with his old video camera.
One day, our trainhopper rides into a small southern town (Durham) and is arrested. Faced with a hefty fine and potential jail time, Samuel uses his creativity and starts working as a cameraman for the young and ambitious Sarah. Two polar opposite characters, Samuel and Sarah work together in a city-council initiated competition to make the best promotional video for Durham.
Trainhopper is an adventure filled with action, drama, and comedy. An unusual coming-of-age story, Trainhopper deals with themes of attachment and the suffering that comes from those attachments.
Letter from the Director: Why this film?
The trainhopping world is a world that you’ve never explored before--picture shots of Samuel riding across the vast expanses of the United States. Even though that is exciting enough, we have three of many reasons as to why this film is different:
1) There is a story behind the story .
I share many similarities with Samuel's character.
I grew up moving around quite a bit--by the time I was 18 I had lived in 12 different countries. As a result, like Samuel I am always up for an adventure even if it is stupid/dangerous (sorry mom). But most importantly, I deal with the same conflict that tears Samuel apart: we know that attachments are the source of all our suffering, so then why do we keep creating more attachments. In a certain sense, a big part of who I am today is in Samuel’s characte
2) Durham is currently erupting with energy and beauty.
We’re going to capture that. Back when I first got here, I remember Duke students telling me that Durham was a ghetto, somewhere one should never go. However, the first time I walked through it I was amazed. It has an incredibly subtle cinematic quality: picture unique sunsets, old tobacco brick-buildings impregnated with nostalgia, and the unique grittiness of its inhabitants. Durham was previously a big tobacco town, but recently it has become a dynamic hub for the arts in North Carolina.
3) We are the first students to make a full-length feature film at Duke University.
Making a feature film is challenging enough. Making one while your whole team has a full Duke course-load is much more challenging. As far as we know, no students have ever undertaken a project of this scale at Duke and we are extremely excited to set a precedent. The advantage of being at Duke is that we are surrounded with talented people—which made getting a dream team together very easy.
Why do you need funding?
Making a film is expensive. While our team is fortunate to be able to use many of Duke's outstanding resources (mainly talent), there are still many expenses to handle.
Your support will help us with crucial equipment, crew, post-production costs, film festival fees, and legal fees. Every single cent makes a difference, and will be carefully used.
How much funding do you need?
The director and producers have crunched the numbers, and they need approximately $32,000 to allow the film to reach its full potential. They have already raised close to $15,000 from individual donors in LA over the summer, but this Kickstarter would elevate the quality of the film to a whole new level. That's where we're looking for your collaboration!
What's your timeline?
Now --> Nov. 12th
Running the Kickstarter campaign is a full-time job.
Nov. 12th --> January 2018
Getting ready for production, organizing the schedule, the crew... oh, and taking our exams too!
January 2018 --> May 2018
We shoot Trainhopper during the spring semester! Tristan will also go on a road-trip with his actor far away from Durham to shoot some Trainhopping scenes that need to take place out of state.
May 2018 --> July 2018
Continuously editing as we shoot, Tristan will then drive across the country to Los Angeles to complete the final rounds of post-production (sound editing, color correction, etc.).
July 2018 -- > August 2018
Submit Trainhopper to film festivals!
August 2018 --> Film festivals
Tristan will go travel somewhere (most probably either Iran or SE-Asia and develop a new screenplay set in either of those regions).
Film festivals --> Who knows?
WE DID IT!
Want to see what the final project will look like?
Here is some test footage that we shot with our lead actor the past summer: https://vimeo.com/233597348
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/trainhopperthemovie/
Our interview in the Duke Chronicle:
Risks and challenges
Just like a Train going full speed, nothing can stop Trainhopper. We have faced many obstacles, and will keep facing many more, but every time we overpower them with pure determination.
Trainhopper faces two principal challenges.
1) Because we are all students, we can't just drop everything and shoot for 25 days and be done. Instead we have to account for many moving parts and rotating schedules. But with meticulous planning and over six months until graduating, we will be fine.
2) We don't have any network or studio backing us so our plan for profiting through film festival distribution is much less structured than your typical Hollywood movie. One might see that as a risk, we see it as freedom.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)