Train hopping is an age-old as well as quite dangerous and totally illegal tradition in USA that developed from the Depression Era workers looking for work on railways and then jumping on a moving train to save a ticket. It has over the years come to represent freedom of movement, attractive to millions of wayward young people looking for the way out of their small towns, jumping on freight train to take them somewhere, anywhere.
For filmmaker Haley Elizabeth Anderson, train hopping was in her blood and making 'Get Out Fast' was a way to visualise and analyse some of her memories.
What is your background as a director and where are you currently based?
I started directing in film school. I didn’t grow up knowing what a director was actually. I knew directors as people/celebrities from watching the Oscars on TV, but I didn’t know what they did exactly until I was a teenager. However, I was obsessed with films - especially old ones. I owe that to my mom. But before film school, I only saw myself as a writer - I was working on a collection of short stories and poems right before I learned how to write a screenplay. I didn’t have access to cameras either growing up except the disposable ones you use for birthday parties - so my road to filmmaking just began with a pencil and a notebook.
Right now it feels as though I’ve been in film school forever. I was in the undergrad film program at the University of Texas at Austin four years ago and I entered Tisch’s grad film program a year after I graduated. Texas is my home, but right now I’m in New York, finishing my MFA. I have two years to do that, but I’ll probably stay in New York longer. I hope to be “tri-coastal” at some point. I want to make my first feature in the Gulf Coast, where I grew up.
Where did the idea for this film come from?
This film came from several moments and memories within my childhood. My grandfather hopped trains when he was in his twenties. I moved around a lot when I was a kid and we always lived by railroad tracks and played on them. There was a kid I met while working at a casting company a few years ago - he used to hop trains around Galveston. The film is a collage of all of these moments and people that I remember. The story was more a collage of feelings rather than an idea. I was trying to capture a feeling that I get when thinking about some of the people I’ve known and lost throughout my childhood.
Did you feel like there is something you'd like to convey in the film that was important to you?
Memory and the feeling of summarizing and analyzing your own memories. I wanted the film to feel like looking out the back window of a car as you drive away from someone you’ve had a brief encounter with in a parking lot - watching them grow smaller and smaller - and only being able to remember how they made you feel or how the memory of them made you feel. I was hoping to capture a little bit of that.