For most of us, the sound of a train horn along the Durham tracks inspires annoyance and perhaps a bit of shock. For senior Tristan Bouan, it inspired a film.
Fast forward two years and Bouan—along with his producer, senior Jackson Steger—are beginning production for their movie “Trainhopper” by casting Duke students, scouting locations for filming and continuing to fundraise for the ambitious project (...)
(...) But the clock is ticking. Come mid-July, his right to live in US will expire. In the two months between graduation and his departure, he plans on completing Trainhopper’s post-production in LA and submitting the final product to film festivals. After that, who knows? “I have an idea for a film in Pakistan…I might go travel for a few months and develop a new screenplay.” If Trainhopper gets noticed while he’s gone, it could be the start to a long career in filmmaking. Countless Hollywood-hopefuls have seen their dreams dashed, but Tristan isn’t too worried.
Having reinvented his life many times, he knows he can do it again. “It’s ridiculous to worry about failing…Fuck it. It’s OK to worry about doing your best. I worry everyday about making Trainhopper the best it can be. But don’t orient your life around avoiding failure. If it happens, learn from it. Go travel. Go do some shit. Things will work out.”
While preparing for the film, Bouan traveled all around the area, observing train patterns and the logistics behind train-hopping. Train-hopping in and of itself is a complex act; not all compartments and sections are equal, and one misplaced step could result in an injury. Through this character research, Bouan attempted to truly understand the solitude that comes with a life of detachment.