A film by BOA poet Kai Carlson-Wee, Riding the Highline, has won a 2017 Shoestring Trophy Award, and will screen at the George Eastman Museum’s Dryden Theatre as part of the Rochester International Film Festival. The film screening will take place on Friday, April 21, at 8:00 p.m., followed by an audience Q&A with the filmmaker. The event is free and open to the public. Kai Carlson-Wee is the author of the forthcoming BOA poetry collection Rail (spring 2018).
Riding the Highline is a short documentary film about poet brothers Kai and Anders Carlson-Wee hopping freight trains across the country. The film was shot over the summer of 2013 on the Burlington Highline route from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Wenatchee, Washington. It was written and directed by Kai Carlson-Wee and co-directed by Anders Carlson-Wee.
Kai Carlson-Wee says, “I want to make films that are built on the narrative impulses of poetry.”
Beginning with the brothers waiting for trains in the Northtown Yard in Minneapolis, Riding the Highline follows their journey across the American West, using narrative cut scenes, poetry written by the brothers, and still photographs taken along the way. Over the course of four days, the brothers pass through a number of train yards and small towns before reaching the Columbia River Basin in Wenatchee, WA.
Movies on a Shoestring, Inc. chose Riding the Highline for a Rochester International Film Festival Shoestring Trophy because of the film’s integrity and appeal. The film features live-action shots mixed with still photography and Kai Carlson-Wee’s own poetry, delivered in voiceover.
“We thought it was beautiful and vivid—a captivating glimpse of an unusual, contemporary adventure rooted in the past. The musical score added the right amount of toe-tapping Americana,” said Teresa Carroll of the MOAS Pre-Screening Committee Members’ initial impressions of Riding the Highline.
Poems featured in Riding the Highline will be included in Kai Carlson-Wee’s forthcoming collection Rail. Kai created the film and the book simultaneously as a multimedia record of the journey.
BOA Publisher Peter Conners says, “Kai has a rare poetic vision that extends beyond the page. One of the thrills of publishing Rail is that it connects the artistic mediums Kai excels in—visual and poetic—with poems about riding the rails, traveling, surviving, and coming of age in the strange landscape of 21st century America. Kai is not only a poet to watch but an artist to be reckoned with. I am thrilled to work with him and doubly thrilled to have the Rochester International Film Festival recognize his talents as well.”
A full listing of Shoestring Award films for the 2017 Rochester International Film Festival is forthcoming from Movies on a Shoestring, Inc. Details for the festival will be listed at http://rochesterfilmfest.org.
The Rochester International Film Festival, the longest running, continually held, short film festival in the world, is produced and presented annually by Movies On A Shoestring, Inc. (est. 1959). Each festival includes a wide variety of narrative films, documentaries, and animations submitted by independent filmmakers from all parts of the world. Additional information about this year’s festival, including a schedule of screenings, can be found at rochesterfilmfest.org.
32 Poems Magazine recently published a fantastic interview with Kai and Anders Carlson-Wee. Click here to read it.