Monday, June 30, 2008

10 MPH

Saturday night I watched a documentary called 10 MPH which is a documentary film directed by Hunter Weeks and starring Josh Caldwell with his Segway HT, the two-wheeled electronic scooter.

This film, which takes its name from the Segway's average speed, documents Caldwell's 100-day, coast to coast journey across the United States riding the "Human Transporter". The trip started in Seattle, Washington on August 8, 2004 and ended in Boston, Massachusetts on November 18, 2004. 10 MPH has had a favorable reaction at screenings and film festivals and has won several awards.

10 MPH
follows the progress of Caldwell as he rides a Segway scooter across the United States from Seattle to Boston, stopping at many places along the way to interact with people. The film focuses on showing the dynamic nature of the US countryside as well as documenting the stories of people Caldwell and Weeks encounter along the way.

10 MPH shows Caldwell, Weeks, and other members of the crew but also provides footage of the people they meet, both helpful and rude. For example, Caldwell and the crew are stopped by an Illinois police officer (an absolute prick and embarrassment to law enforcement) who admonishes them for traveling at 10 MPH on a road with a 45 MPH speed limit. The filmmakers also document their struggles, from the technical challenges of maintaining the Segway's batteries to the production challenge of losing a producer part way through the filming process.

Dissatisfied with their average corporate jobs, filmmakers Weeks and Caldwell formed a production company, Spinning Blue, in Denver, Colorado prior to beginning production of 10 MPH. They have discussed their lack of training and experience in the film industry, lack of investment capital to make the film, and lack of film industry contacts as challenges at the beginning of the process. Rather than pursuing traditional channels of film making, Weeks and Caldwell used the Web to raise funds and promote 10 MPH. They conceived the idea of making a film before knowing what it would be about. Shortly thereafter, a friend gave them the idea of making a film involving a Segway.

In 2004, Weeks and Caldwell purchased a Segway and decided to film a documentary about traveling across the United States at 10 miles per hour. Caldwell actually rode the scooter while Weeks directed and managed the film footage. Weeks and other members of the production crew followed Caldwell in a car with the film equipment.

They used a Sony PD-150 to capture 180 hours of footage. Post-production occurred back in Denver after the Segway journey with involvement from other members of the Denver film community

I enjoyed the film but I don't know that I recommend it to everyone as I am a bit of a documentary geek and eat this stuff up. If you do enjoy a fun "ride" though, watch it if you can find it.



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