Wheels Up

based on a remarkable true story

 
 

We are excited and honored to share that the ScreenCraft Film Fund has chosen "Wheels Up" as a semi-finalist in the Spring 2017 Short Film Production contest.

Great news! "Wheels Up" has received an Honorable Mention from the 2017 Artists Alliance Short Screenplay Contest.

 

"Wheels Up" is a story about Three neglected souls tRYING TO SURVIVE in a CRUEL world.

The improbable encounter. Duane runs into his mother selling tickets at the Carnival in Rapid City, South Dakota.

The improbable encounter. Duane runs into his mother selling tickets at the Carnival in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Duane meets his mother for the first time since he was a baby, and the first time he can remember, in Green Bay, Wi.

Duane meets his mother for the first time since he was a baby, and the first time he can remember, in Green Bay, Wi.


Our film tells the story of a chance encounter between 14-year-old Shane and his estranged mother, Geena, when the carnival comes to town. It follows Shane as he makes the agonizing choice of whether to stay with his father, Travis, or go "wheels up" with his mom and start a new life.

Wheels Up is a story about survival. It's a back-to-the-wind tale told in stark emotional and physical spaces. It’s a story about chance, and ultimately about grit and forgiveness.

No one in our story is innocent, nor are they guilty. Each struggle to reconcile their own self-interest with the needs of the other characters.

The story may not have a happy ending, but we believe people can find humanity, empathy, and compassion for this story told about three neglected souls in an unforgiving world.

The film is based on a remarkable true event from Duane's life: He met his mother for just the second time-ever at a traveling carnival. She was selling tickets; he was living in a homeless shelter. Both Duane and his mother had traveled thousands of miles during the six years since their first meeting, when he was 9.

This encounter is just one of many stories Duane has told us from his childhood, hitchhiking from town to town, living in missions and shelters. He wrote about one of those stories in an essay for the New York Times Magazine.

 

Written by: Robert K. Benson & Duane Tollison

Directed by: Michael A. Swartz

Produced by: Rachel McPhee, Robert K. Benson, Michael A. Swartz, Duane Tollison

Registered 2017

Writers Guild of America East