In Transit, "Empire Builder" Film.

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TraneMan

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This was shared on their Facebook Page...

In Transit, Albert Maysles's final film -- made in collaboration with Lynn True @Nelson Walker Ben Wu @David Usui -- was shot entirely on Amtrak's Empire Builder line, which connects Chicago with Portland and Seattle. Comprised of stories from passengers met spontaneously on this route in 2013-14, the film seeks to capture a portrait of America, and the unique sense of community that arises on long-distance trains. IN TRANSIT was never distributed after its festival run and limited theatrical release, but during this particular period of isolation and uncertainty, we are for the first time sharing the film for 1 week, with the hope that it can serve as a reminder of the power of human connection and how, ultimately, we're all in this together. As Albert always said, “The most important part of filming is the love you show.” We hope you can spread the word across your social networks. Thank you and we hope you take care!

www.intransitfilm.com/watch
@https://twitter.com/InTransitDoc
https://www.facebook.com/mayslesintransit/
 

v v

Conductor
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Dec 4, 2012
Messages
1,206
This was shared on their Facebook Page...

In Transit, Albert Maysles's final film -- made in collaboration with Lynn True @Nelson Walker Ben Wu @David Usui -- was shot entirely on Amtrak's Empire Builder line, which connects Chicago with Portland and Seattle. Comprised of stories from passengers met spontaneously on this route in 2013-14, the film seeks to capture a portrait of America, and the unique sense of community that arises on long-distance trains. IN TRANSIT was never distributed after its festival run and limited theatrical release, but during this particular period of isolation and uncertainty, we are for the first time sharing the film for 1 week, with the hope that it can serve as a reminder of the power of human connection and how, ultimately, we're all in this together. As Albert always said, “The most important part of filming is the love you show.” We hope you can spread the word across your social networks. Thank you and we hope you take care!

www.intransitfilm.com/watch
@https://twitter.com/InTransitDoc
https://www.facebook.com/mayslesintransit/
Is it possible to buy a DVD of In Transit, have looked for this for a long time. Thanks
 
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Michigan Mom

OBS Chief
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Jan 28, 2012
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550
This was really a most appreciated gift at a time when distraction was, well, really appreciated. Very well done and just plain enjoyable viewing. The interspersion of train footage with the real life passenger appearances worked very well, there were a lot of subtle messages being conveyed that speak to a wide cross section of people.
Through all the human stories that were unfolding, what really affected me the most was the footage from the Empire Builder, inside the cars, outside the window, day and night, and the station stops. Wow did this ever bring back memories of our EB trip some years ago. The emotional tug reminded me of what a life changing experience it is to travel LD by train.
 

v v

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I would strongly suggest you all to go to their Facebook page, and tell them thanks for sharing this video with us all! Maybe showing enough support will make do something to get this onto DVD for us.
In the UK at the moment and for perhaps the last 2 or 3 years there have been a large number of train themed programs on British tv, the interest in train travel there is enormous currently.

In my opinion as 'In Transit' gets closest to the flavour of long distance train travel by quite a long way compared to anything I've yet to see on any UK tv (and I watch everything train travel orientated I can find), I think it could easily be the star of current British rail travel programs, I really do.

Is it possible to mention to the people who own the program/film if they could or wish to offer their film one of the 4 of 5 mainstream Brit tv companies?

I don't belong to Facebook or any other social media except here and an outdoor forum in the UK so can't put my own opinion where they can read it, but I do wholeheartedly agree with you that there would be a lot of interest if a DVD were available.
Would also like to write it is very generous and humane of them to make the program available for free for this week.

Thank you for posting this, it has made both of us very happy.
 

Maglev

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Sep 4, 2016
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One of the reasons I get a private room is to avoid all the drama this documentary portrays. There are a couple scenes in Roomettes, and one brief shot of a kid climbing into the bunk in a Family Bedroom. It looks like they gave the pregnant lady a Roomette.
 

Michigan Mom

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Messages
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One of the reasons I get a private room is to avoid all the drama this documentary portrays. There are a couple scenes in Roomettes, and one brief shot of a kid climbing into the bunk in a Family Bedroom. It looks like they gave the pregnant lady a Roomette.
And the film captures this very element of the LD charm. Traveling in Coach brings a different experience, at a different price point, that might be valued in a different way.
 

v v

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And the film captures this very element of the LD charm. Traveling in Coach brings a different experience, at a different price point, that might be valued in a different way.
I'm with you, the entire community gives something to the experience.
 

Skyline

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Feb 19, 2016
Messages
656
I'm glad I got to watch this film. It speaks to the complex human condition, a spirit that strives to grow in both good and bad times, and leaves the viewer with a somewhat hopeful outlook. It also demonstrates the magic of a long distance train -- something we should hope prospers into the next generation. I fear it will not, and our society loses something important but intangible if it does not.

In Transit reminds me of myself in my 20s, riding trains in the first decade of Amtrak whenever I could on a cheap USA Railpass -- in coach mostly because that's all I could afford. It wasn't the greatest environment in which catch a good night's sleep, or stay sober, or avoid easy one-night stands that the layout of the old Heritage cars made possible, or heaven forbid advance life career goals. But I swear I learned a lot about life and what it all meant on those trips. The train and its vibe allowed me to meet more significantly interesting people in coach than I do nowadays in my 60s when I'm able to afford roomettes or bedrooms. Some of whom I still stay in touch with 40ish years later.
 

MccfamschoolMom

Train Attendant
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Feb 28, 2020
Messages
92
This is the train I used to ride back & forth to college back in the 1970s, so I was happy to see this film (although I'm not too crazy about Al Jazeera America's involvement in the making of the film). I'm catching the first half-hour or so before work this morning, and will continue watching the rest later in the day.
 

Skyline

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Feb 19, 2016
Messages
656
This is the train I used to ride back & forth to college back in the 1970s, so I was happy to see this film (although I'm not too crazy about Al Jazeera America's involvement in the making of the film). I'm catching the first half-hour or so before work this morning, and will continue watching the rest later in the day.

I focused on the film, not who bankrolled it or had a hand in its production. The two logos at the bottom were bothersome visually, but by expanding the film to full screen they disappeared.

FYI, Al Jazeera eminates from Qatar, a US ally. Al Jazeera America is a network born to compete with CNN, Fox, MSNBC, etc. in the US. What little I've watched of AJAmerica shows it to be more centered politically, and less left or right, than some of the US-based networks. It does broadcast in various languages, and in the Middle East may be more biased . . . but that's kind of expected as the region, nations, and sectors of nations are very splintered -- because there are so many religious factions there.
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,172
I watch everything train travel orientated I can find
Can you suggest some good train focused content? I have subscriptions to UK streaming services but rather little knowledge of what is available.

(although I'm not too crazy about Al Jazeera America's involvement in the making of the film)
Al Jazeera America doesn't really exist anymore, possibly due to guilt by association, but back when it was still broadcasting the content seemed to be focused on legitimate news rather than propaganda and manipulation.
 

Ryan

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Apr 14, 2008
Messages
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Al Jazeera America doesn't really exist anymore, possibly due to guilt by association, but back when it was still broadcasting the content seemed to be focused on legitimate news rather than propaganda and manipulation.
Putting it well ahead of much US-based reporting. I enjoyed them while they were around.
 

mlanoue

Train Attendant
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Oct 30, 2003
Messages
70
Just watched the first 10 minutes. Wow--that really captures an LD Superlinar trip like nothing else I've seen. I'm going to watch it with my daughter who is definitely missing train travel right now, too.
 

Night Ranger

Train Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jan 22, 2020
Messages
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I'm glad I got to watch this film. It speaks to the complex human condition, a spirit that strives to grow in both good and bad times, and leaves the viewer with a somewhat hopeful outlook. It also demonstrates the magic of a long distance train -- something we should hope prospers into the next generation. I fear it will not, and our society loses something important but intangible if it does not.

In Transit reminds me of myself in my 20s, riding trains in the first decade of Amtrak whenever I could on a cheap USA Railpass -- in coach mostly because that's all I could afford. It wasn't the greatest environment in which catch a good night's sleep, or stay sober, or avoid easy one-night stands that the layout of the old Heritage cars made possible, or heaven forbid advance life career goals. But I swear I learned a lot about life and what it all meant on those trips. The train and its vibe allowed me to meet more significantly interesting people in coach than I do nowadays in my 60s when I'm able to afford roomettes or bedrooms. Some of whom I still stay in touch with 40ish years later.
While reading your post I was reminded of Arlo Guthrie's song City of New Orleans. It had the same vibe to me as some of the lyrics especially meeting "significantly interesting people in coach" and the difficulty of staying sober.
 

Brian Battuello

Train Attendant
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Jul 23, 2014
Messages
78
More than once I've had a pleasant talk with someone in the lounge car until I eventually realized they were nuts. Not politically extreme, just batshit crazy. I usually managed to extract myself before paranoia set in. All part of the experience.

I only watched some of the film so far, but looks good.

If I may plug another railroad documentary, may I suggest Jean Shepard's America episode about trains.


Starts out kind of slow and maudlin, but kicks into gear and includes one of the greatest train stories ever told. Bear with it. The strange thing is that it was made in 1971, according to the end credits, so was probably written and filmed *just* before Amtrak came into being. Watch it for the details that they took for granted, the dome cars, the dining car, just sitting in a coach and looking out the window. I'm sure I watched it with my father the first time it was broadcast, bless youtube for preserving it.
 

ehbowen

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2011
Messages
2,270
Great film. Would like to buy the DVD or a download; guess it's not available. However, they do allow full screen, and there are screen capture programs available....
 

Deni

Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
161
I saw it a couple years ago at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Been waiting for a long time for a DVD to finally come out, hope it finally will. Brought back a lot of memories of riding the EB back and forth between Chicago and Seattle when I lived in Seattle in the 90s into 2000. I thought it really captured the experience and the people of that train well.
 
Joined
May 19, 2019
Messages
3
Think I'll watch this on Monday, April 6th. We booked a flight to Chicago for Saturday, then Monday back home to PDX on Amtrak. So disappointed to cancel. Nice to find this film!!
 

MccfamschoolMom

Train Attendant
Joined
Feb 28, 2020
Messages
92
Finally finished watching this over the lunch hour today. Would have liked to have seen a bit more of Fargo, ND (the closest stop to my undergrad college), but I remember the eastbound Empire Builder always seemed to arrive in Fargo in the wee hours of the morning, so very little to see then. (I'd attempt to sleep in my coach seat as soon as the conductor had inspected my ticket.)
 
Joined
Nov 23, 2018
Messages
4
This is the train I used to ride back & forth to college back in the 1970s, so I was happy to see this film (although I'm not too crazy about Al Jazeera America's involvement in the making of the film). I'm catching the first half-hour or so before work this morning, and will continue watching the rest later in the day.
Me too........from Milwaukee, WI to Portland, OR, from 1970/1972. Before AMTRAK
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,172
Is it possible to buy a DVD of In Transit, have looked for this for a long time. Thanks
Great film. Would like to buy the DVD or a download; guess it's not available.
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“In Transit” played at roughly a dozen film festivals and was being prepped by Al Jazeera America for a theatrical run with the help of sales agent Submarine Deluxe when Al Jazeera’s U.S. arm was abruptly shuttered in 2016, leaving the rights to the film in legal limbo. Part of the problem was that Al Jazeera had agreed to finance a 50-minute documentary for TV, not a feature film, so determining who had the rights to the feature-length version was a legal quandary.
Link...
 
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