A STORY OF HOPE
A Thousand Miles Behind is, at its core, a love letter to anyone who finds themselves struggling through grief after experiencing deep personal loss. Its ultimate message is simple: Keep going, you are not alone.
The initial seed of the idea that grew into the film began when writer/director Nathan Wetherington watched a documentary about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and its impact on the town and on the victims' remaining families. He was struck by the struggle of one young father in particular. Nathan found himself haunted by this man and the unimaginable loss he underwent, and two questions kept surfacing: What, if anything, can we really do to help someone who's going through that sort of traumatic loss? And how does a person who's experiencing that kind of grief eventually get to a place where they are able to begin moving beyond it? The paradox of grief is that it is at once a universal part of the human experience and also deeply personal. Ultimately, there is no universal cure. You cannot go to a hospital to get stitched up for it. You can't "do these exercises twice a day" to alleviate the pain of it. Grief is personal, which makes it a profoundly isolating experience. We're familiar with this feeling of aloneness in the person directly effected by the loss, but it often extends out to the people around that person as well - those loved ones who care about them and would do anything to help, if only they could.
A Thousand Miles Behind is at once a visual mediation on the subject of grief and the compelling story of Preston's motorcycle trip across California. The motorcycle itself being a solitary vehicle by design, is a perfect representation of the process Preston goes through, traveling through his grief, often alone.
This film never intends to provide a definitive solution to the problem of pain. Its primary intention is to offer a sense of connection for those feeling isolated and trapped in their own personal story or struggle. This is embodied in the film through the character of Tracey, a stranger who reaches out to Preston as he moves along his journey. One of arts greatest ideals is that those who come into contact with it come away from that interaction feeling somehow more connected, or at least less alone in the world around them. It's the filmmaker's sincerest hope that this movie's simple humanity finds it's way to those who need it most in this world of ever increasing disconnection, yes, but also inexplicable beauty.