There and Back Again


I worked on this film for a very long time. I’m very proud of it.

But it isn’t quite what I’d hoped it would be. I think most filmmakers would say that their projects rarely, if ever, match the vision in their head–and most filmmakers are better than I am.

There are the “small” things, things most people won’t notice: I wish I knew how to mix sound properly, and how to color grade consistently.

But then there are the much bigger things. How to tell a story. How to take a country, and our experience of it, and condense it into a coherent, compelling movie. The 25 days we drove were not enough to see all this country has to offer and hide, and, for all my decent photos, my shaky hands could never be enough to show it to you.

There is so much in these 80 minutes. And there is so much that I left out. So much that I never even captured. America the massive, your stories are multitudes, and I know so few of them and can tell even fewer. Stories we glanced at, brushed up against, merely trailing our fingers along their edges: the legacy of the struggle for civil rights; the laying of roads that would connect and cleave our communities; the effect of climate change and all the beauty it obscures and obliterates; the erasure of entire peoples and the robbery of land that belongs to no one.

The sheer privilege of being able to go. To go and see and not know. To go and see and learn. To go and see and show, but not tell.

Maybe I should let the film speak for itself. Maybe I’ve said too much.

Though I think more likely, I could never say enough.

I wish everyone could see for themselves. But I know many won’t ever have the chance. So I offer you this.

I hope you like it.