Forty filmmakers from 25 countries collaborated to produce one film depicting one character portrayed by numerous actors. This award-winning film, “Train Station,” will be shown by the Ghost Town Arts Collective from 6-9 p.m. Saturday at Venue Off the Square, 223 S. Travis, Sherman.
“We are so excited to bring the independent film ‘Train Station’ to Sherman, with a special introduction and Q&A with one of the directors, Daniel Montoya,” event organizer Heidi Rushing said. “I attended the Dallas premiere of ‘Train Station’ back in the spring, and really enjoyed the film.”
The director of the Dallas premiere offered to come to Sherman if GTAC wanted to do a screening of the film.
“It felt like an opportunity we couldn’t pass up,” Rushing said. “In other movies of a similar nature, we see different outcomes for our protagonist based on different choices he or she makes. This film is unique because of the way the story changes locations, casts and even languages. By shifting the story from one country to another, it gains universality.”
Rushing also mentioned how the GTAC has always endeavored to feature many different types of art, including visual art, poetry, dance, music and short films.
“So a film screening isn’t too big of a departure for us,” she said. “Collaboration has always been key for us, and it is neat to see how that can play out in this different medium.”
Train Station was made by CollabFeature, a team of independent filmmakers.
“They work together in an online community to generate the ideas and scripts, then each director creates a segment of the film in their own city and with their own crew,” Rushing said. “By pooling resources and working to support one another, they are able to create this really grand film. So not only did I enjoy the film, but I was totally inspired by their process.”
Montoya said that there were special challenges in making a collaborative film.
“When we decided to create this film together we knew that our voices needed to count, that means that everyone’s opinion was considered when taking decisions such as plot twists, character introductions, music, color, and more,” he said. “That was part of the challenge, how to conceive a work of art with so many creative minds together and still make it our own. So we decided to go for a voting system in which each filmmaker would vote for each scene and the ones with most votes were approved and worked on. It was definitely a lengthy process since everyone’s schedule and time zones differ. But little by little and with constant work we were able to pull it off. Oh, and thanks to the internet, too!”
Another challenge was one we brought together with the original concept of telling a story where one character is played by a different actor in each country. Film locations include Spain, France, Germany, Colombia, China, India, Singapore, South Africa, India, Iran and more.
“That’s when we decided wardrobe color, personality, character’s emotions, etc. needed to be the same but with a different interpretation and performance due to the actor’s choices and characteristics as well as nationality, for example, our main character,” Montoya said. “‘Person in Brown’ is performed by men, women, and children that are shaped by their country of origin and by different social, economical and political influences that have made them who they are as a person — as a ‘Person in Brown.’”
Language was not a problem.
“We had all our conversations in English, however, many of the filmmakers spoke different languages, even one of them shot and directed a segment in Spanish in Chile, even though he’s from Switzerland,” Montoya said. “Or, I directed a segment in English in Texas even though I’m originally from Colombia.”
It did not matter what language the actors were speaking or the script was written in since emotions, reactions and life experiences are universal, Montoya said.
“We are all humans and experience life, and that is what we have in common,” he said. “That’s what we used for the script, by using the premise of what situations could happen to any of us and how the decisions we make, define our destiny and place in our lives.”
Watching the film all together with the final soundtrack, color graded and with the final edits was surprising and what a relief, Montoya said.
“We spent years working on this film and seeing it finally on a big screen is something that definitely made me feel proud that we were able to pull it off after so many hours of work and challenges,” he said. “An idea that may sound crazy such as that — making a film with people all over the world is actually possible. It’s also very inspiring!”
Rushing said that GTAC is working to bring arts and cultural activities to downtown Sherman.
“Occasionally Joseph and I drive down to the Angelika in Plano or Dallas to see a film — the type of movie that doesn’t often show at the local Cinemark — and we at the GTAC thought it would be nice to treat for others in the community as well to have that kind of experience right in downtown Sherman,” Rushing said. “We are also having a mini life drawing session in the same location from 4 to 5 p.m. Saturday, which is free and open to the public. There will be drawing for an hour, spending an hour strolling the square or grabbing a drink, snack, gelato or coffee downtown, then coming back to see a film and have a good conversation sounds like a perfect Saturday night to me.”
For more information, check out the GTCA website: https://ghosttownartscollective.wordpress.com/2017/10/19/train-station-film-screening/ or visit Facebook Page: Ghost Town Arts Collective.