Freeload is a portrait of the modern train-riding culture. This movie follows Blackbird, a lost teenager searching for the answers to life. Ponyboy and Rachel, the young lovers, attempt to settle down in Texas, but the freedom of the road lure them back. Brothers Skrappe and Christmas - separated most of their lives - try to rekindle their distant brotherhood. Dice, the soft-spoken mystic will risk everything to ride the rails.
Director Daniel Skaggs was born in Kentucky. After completing a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana and operating an organic vegetable farm in the Rattlesnake Valley, he co-founded Highway Goat Productions. Freeload is Skaggs' directorial debut. He currently resides in Missoula, MT, USA.
Roots Channel editor's note: This film contains a fair amount of explicit language. You may want to preview before screening with the kids!
Hobos to me, represent an American pastime - a story told through the lyrics of Woody Guthrie and writers from the Dust Bowl era. Historically, men of The Great Depression rode trains out of necessity. I however, had been riding freight trains for nearly a decade seeking adventure. The times have changed over the years, and Freeload tells the story of the modern day rider. In the summer of 2011, I hopped a freight out of Missoula, Montana. Armed with camera equipment, a pack and a vision I crisscrossed the nation’s railroads encountering the characters of this documentary. Freeload became a reality. Rolling through countrysides and cityscapes, I spent my days living on the streets interviewing train riders. Underpasses, boxcars and abandoned buildings became my livingroom. There is a strong sense of camaraderie amongst the present day hobos. They share what they have, including the company of others. Over time, I gained acceptance by the brothers and sisters of the road. Because I was not an outsider, the characters of Freeload could tell their stories without inhibition. They truly opened up on camera and welcomed me into their lives. Freeload is a portrait of the modern train-riding culture. These bold characters bring to the screen stories of love, struggle, adventure and family. I hope you will enjoy this forgotten slice of Americana that Freeload revives.
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