Charleston Arts Festival is thrilled to be presenting the American premieres of Beyond Transport and Alexx Finding Home, two new documentary films, by California-based filmmaker, Ched Lohr.
Beyond Transport is a moving exploration of the ways in which our devices distance us from our fellow humans by hampering our genuine ability and willingness to communicate. Conversations with taxi drivers around the world offer insight into our openness for direct communication. In the personal device era, how are we talking?
Beyond Transport recently received the 2018 award for best editing of a short documentary at the Amsterdam International Filmmaker Festival, where it was also nominated as best short documentary.
Alexx Finding Home | Twenty-seven year old Alexx Collins fears delivering her first child on the street. Homeless since the age of 14, the responsibilities and challenges to get home seemed insurmountable for a woman without a job, bank account or identification. Alexx Finding Home captures the unsheltered circumstance, the primal instinct to protect family, and the determination to achieve one's goal, at any cost. With an extraordinary capacity to love and a community uniting to help, Alexx’s journey home shares the power of determined individuals once connected.
These screenings will be followed by a panel discussion including the filmmaker and participants and advisors from the two films.
Beyond Transport was born out of my concern for the diminishing value the human family is giving to direct, face-to-face communication as we increasingly limit ourselves to devices for connecting.I became acutely aware of this phenomenon while exploring Australia in 2015:I noticed that travelers paid much more attention to their personal devices than they did to the beauty of their environs and to their fellow travelers. During this trip, I had a memorable conversation with a taxi driver and this made me feel there is hope for us all: We simply need to remain connected and enjoy direct human interaction. This conversation inspired me to dig further and I conceived the notion of interviewing other drivers to hear their thoughts on the topic of direct communication.
I felt that taxi drivers were particularly insightful social scientists who could provide first-hand observation of communication preferences based on what their passengers do during the hired ride. With that in mind, and with the thought that it would be especially valuable to see how diverse cultures treat the concept of direct communication losing ground to device-driven connection,I decided to take my inquiry global: I committed to interview drivers on the seven continents for their views on the subject.
Technology is vital and its role in our lives is expanding. The aim of BeyondTransport is not to disavow or malign technology. Rather, the intention is to showcase the unexpected, meaningful inter-personal moments that enrich our lives if we are present for them. I propose we search for that balance between enjoying the many benefits that technology offers while not losing moments when the spark of a conversation brings inexplicable joy to both speaker and listener.
I am not a conventional filmmaker nor am I trained in the art of filmmaking; Iam a physician by training and vocation. My scientific background led me toask many questions and extensively research various technologies forfilming and editing software as well as the musical equipment andrecording software that I used to create and edit the film’s score.
I was not alone in this endeavor; many people from all over the world generouslygave me guidance, advice, support, and comfort during the two years that Imade Beyond Transport. On both literal and figurative levels, this filmrepresents a journey: One of a man traveling the world asking questions ofdrivers with diverse cultural and social backgrounds, and one of a manexploring the critical human need for direct connection to others.
Imagine yourself settling into a cab: you hop in, you get comfortable, and you turn off your device so you can enjoy a conversation. My hope is that at the end of the ride, after watching Beyond Transport, the viewer will ponder this: Could mindfulness help me balance my need for connection to technology and my need for connection to my fellow man?
Ched Lohr’s journey as a filmmaker arose from an idea for a documentary while traveling abroad. The documentary captured interviews with taxi drivers from multiple cultures to learn how the art of conversation had been changed by the usage of personal devices. Following his heart and with guidance from many wonderful friends and family, this documentary, titled Beyond Transport, was completed eighteen months later.
The learning-by-doing approach was comprehensive. Lohr filmed Beyond Transport, wrote the script, edited the footage, and from his thirty-year passion for playing guitar and other instruments, composed and performed the score.
Lohr’s artistic goal is to connect people through greater understanding and this resonates from his second documentary titled Alexx Finding Home. In 2017 he established Limbic Mojo as a platform to promote artists who inspire our unification as one global community. Lohr’s commitment as an artist extends from his primary career in medicine, as an interventional radiologist in Northern California.