How would you like to see America at such a slow pace you’d be able to enjoy the sights and get to know interesting people along the way? Two new independent filmmakers decided to do just that -- and their documentary, 10 MPH, chronicles their unusual journey. “Unusual” is the right word to describe this particular trek, because the Segway, a two-wheeled vertical scooter, was the mode of transportation involved for one member of the pair -- and the other guy filmed the trip.
When Hunter Weeks and Josh Caldwell, two friends who met in college, become disenchanted with their office jobs, they agree it’s time to “do the thing you’re supposed to do.” For them, that “thing” is filmmaking. One of their college pals comes up with the idea of riding a Segway from coast to coast, and the concept for their first film is born. They purchase a Segway and even try to obtain financial support from the company that makes Segways. When this doesn’t work, Hunter and Josh realize they will have to make things happen themselves.
However, going along to help the intrepid pair are Gannon Weeks, Hunter’s twin sister, and his dog Alby as well as intern Alon Weisman, a Segway fan. But it’s Josh who rides the Segway 4300 miles from Seattle to Boston at a speed of ten miles per hour for 100 days -- while Hunter uses a Sony PD-150 to film the journey. Hunter also directs and narrates the finished documentary with a welcome upbeat attitude that shines through, in spite of the many obstacles interferring with completion of this independent project.
Although 10 MPH ends up being a tribute to the dedication and resourcefulness of Hunter Weeks and Josh Caldwell (who, in addition to riding the Segway, edited the film), its major charm comes from the individuals they meet in various communities during the trip. I especially enjoyed their interactions with a curious motorcycle group in Wyoming. Also, I was pleased to see how friendly most people were to these creative strangers when they learned about their intriguing project -- and I loved the parade of Segways at the close of this good-natured documentary. It almost made me stand up and cheer. (Capsule review.)
(Released by Spinning Blue; not rated by MPAA.)
Click here to read a ReelTalk feature article about 10 MPH.