A Journey 50 Years in the Making
Planes, Trains & Autorickshaws is a documentary that's very personal to me: it's about my family. My mother Sandy was born and raised in India. Her parents (my grandparents) J.T. and Ruth Seamands were American missionaries in South India for nearly 20 years. I grew up hearing amazing stories about my mom's childhood in India alongside her older sisters Sylvia and Sheila.
Their family left India in 1959/1960 and the sisters never returned. Until now.
In 2010 I traveled to India with my mom and aunts on their first journey back in 50 years. Not knowing what we'd find, I filmed the entire trip. They re-discovered their childhoods while I discovered the legacy of the Seamands family in India. What I ended up with is a truly amazing story about family, faith, and going home.
I've spent the past two years editing the film on weekends. I have a picture-locked 87 minute cut of the film which I've shared with many industry professionals, to amazing responses. I've begun submitting it to film festivals like Sundance and Slamdance, but now I need to pay for finishing costs to finalize the film if and when it gets accepted into festivals.
This film has been a passion project of mine for the past two years. I've done everything on it myself, from shooting to editing to financing. Because I've done it all on my own, the budget has remained small for a feature documentary. But there are certain things that I cannot do myself and must now pay for. These include:
- Color correction: the film looks good, now it needs to look GREAT
- Sound mixing: the soundtrack needs to be as dynamic and clear as possible
- Music: original scoring and licensing existing music
- Film festival submissions: the film needs to be seen! Festival submissions average $50-$100 per festival, and this adds up quickly.
$8,000 will barely cover these costs, but I can make it work!
The film is funny and entertaining while still having deeply emotional moments. Someone told me the other day that it "has a lot of heart, and you feel like you're on the trip with them."
Although this film has religious themes, it pushes no religious or political agendas. It's not a "Christian" film and it's not a "secular" film. It's just a film. I believe in letting the audience make up their own minds about such issues. I'm just trying to make an entertaining and moving film.
In addition to submitting to film festivals I'll be seeking distribution for the film so that a wide audience can see it. Things like TV, home video, and Netflix. But in the meantime the clock is ticking on finishing the film by mid-December in case it's accepted by Sundance or Slamdance! So a lot of things are in the works right now to put on the finishing touches, but I can't do it without your help!