In Transit

76 minutes

In Transit 

Documentary Feature | 2015 | 76 Minutes | USA

Director: Albert Maysles, Lynn True, Nelson Walker III, David Usui (in attendance), Benjamin Wu

Q&A will follow the film

IN TRANSIT journeys into the hearts and minds of everyday passengers aboard Amtrak’s Empire Builder, the busiest long-distance train route in America. Captured in the tradition of Direct Cinema, the film unfolds as a series of interconnected vignettes, ranging from overheard conversations to moments of deep intimacy, in which passengers share their fears, hopes and dreams. In the space between stations, where ‘real life’ is suspended, we are swept into a fleeting community that transcends normal barriers, and where a peculiar atmosphere of contemplation and community develops. To some passengers, the train is flight and salvation, to others it is reckoning and loss. But for all, it is a place for personal reflection and connecting with others they may otherwise never know.

“Maysles presents, in the range and diversity of In Transit, a retrospective reminder of his groundbreaking work as seminal maestro of the nonfiction form.”

– Variety

Pre-Screening Live Music from LOTT 1:00-1:30pm

LOTT is the solo classical experimental violin project of Minneapolis musician Leah Ottman (We Are The Willows). The core inspiration for LOTT’s compositions is the Romantic Period of classical music. The chordal structures, intervals, and melodies heard throughout her songs are reminiscent of those used by Antonin Dvorak, Alexander Borodin, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, French Impressionist composer, Maurice Ravel, and then condensed into pop songs. She explores the range on her violin by utilizing a looping pedal and similar techniques employed by looping violinist pioneers, Andrew Bird, Kishi Bashi and Owen Pallet.

LOTT was awarded “Best Acoustic Performer” in City Pages’ Best of the Twin Cities 2015. “…With a looping pedal hooked up to her instrument, Ottman layers intricate melodies that combine classical beauty with an adventurous ear for contemporary experimentation not unlike Andrew Bird. Her voice, loaded with attitude and a penchant for flowing leaps, sweetens the deal…”


For a broader perspective on In Transit, Abode Gallery (next to the WideSpot Performing Arts Center in Stockholm, WI) will be featuring Empire Builder, a fine press book written and illustrated by Pepin artist Carol Inderieden and Chandler O’Leary, an artist from Tacoma, Washington. Empire Builder explores the consequences of hydraulic fracking in the American West. The book is illustrated with allegorical imagery that plays on the advertising campaigns of the old Great Northern Railroad, redrawn to highlight the trail of destruction blazed by energy extraction. The book’s eight full-color, panoramic illustrations unfold like a map, following the route oil takes as it rides the same rails as the Empire Builder passenger line from Chicago to Seattle. Empire Builder includes an original essay connecting the history of westward expansion with the boom and bust cycles of this modern pioneer era.

Albert Maysles, Lynn True, Nelson Walker III, David Usui (in attendance), Benjamin Wu