[New York Independent Film Festival] #TAKEMEANYWHERE (2018) - ReviewedNew York Independent Film Festival] #TAKEMEANYWHERE


Film history is replete with road trip movies; those films that dare its audience to take a journey between two points. National Lampoon’s made fun of it, Dennis Hopper revolutionized independent cinema with it. As a child, my family’s vacations were all about the road trip.

With the advent of social media and the Internet itself, the technology has gotten us to a point where an audience can take part in a journey. In 2016, Shia LaBeouf, Nastja Sade Ronkko and Luke Turner challenged the netizens to guide their journey across North America in their documentary, #TAKEMEANYWHERE.

From May 23, 2016 to June 23, followers could see the trio’s exact location on their website, and then pick them up and take them anywhere. What follows is a 43-minute documentary featuring several cities and life stories from their adventures, capturing life as it happens.

While the idea sounds ludicrous to some, I found the documentary to be very enlightening. On my travels, I’m always people-watching. No, I’m not voyeuristic, but I’m interested in the Human Condition, especially as we mature through the social era. We tend to rely on anonymity but we also crave being around one another; it’s a very odd combination for a social structure. To see three artists put themselves out there for a month, trusting complete strangers to influence their journey was fascinating. The project was commissioned by Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art as part of MediaLive 2016, and The Finnish Institute in London with support by Frame Contemporary Art Finland.

What #TAKEMEANYWHERE does, successfully, is to blend these two studies together. There is nothing more exciting than meeting a total stranger and learning something about them. From the streets of Chicago, to the jazzy sounds of New Orleans to the rugged peaks of Alaska, it took a special kind of individual to want to share in the trio’s journey.

In spite of the changes in attitudes over the years, one constant is music, which the trio captured quite magnificently. The closing song by Logan & Lucille exemplifies the journey this trio undertook. The lyric “he’ll always be there for me, he’ll never let me down” expresses the concept of this project and its influence on this generation. It’s easy to pick a camera up, to get in to a car and go to a destination. It’s a completely different thing though to set a time frame and to give yourself to the journey and let others guide you.

Life is a journey. The destination is up to you. You can find a link to the full video on Vimeo, but you’ll want to check out their website first.

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-Ben Cahlamer