Award-Winning Hitch Hiking Documentary

My student graduation film turned out to be pretty good.
It did well on the short film festival circuit, was one of “The Best of the Fest” at Glasgow International Film Festival and won two student film awards.

Lift, A Hitchhiking Documentary

  • Exposures Film FestivalBBC Best Of North Award 2009 (also nominated for Best Documentary).
  • Royal Television Society North West – Best Factual Student Film 2009.
  • Selected as one of the “Best of the Fest” at Glasgow International Film Festival shown at pop up film festivals around Scotland and North West England.

Check out Lift on the Internet Movie DataBase.


I filmed for two days with Paul Wood for three days then spent another 3 days on the road alone.

I traveled over 500 miles, was picked up 16 times and turned down 4 lifts from people who didn’t want to be filmed. I was left with over 10 hours of video footage, blisters, cold hands, slight sunburn and one broken microphone. More importantly I met a lot of interesting and generous people who shared their stories and opinions with me.

I it took around 50 hours of editing, audio mix, titles, etc.

The Hidden Visual Effect

The breakdown guy picked me up in an ORANGE vehicle! He asked me edit him out as the RAC management didn’t want to show their vehicles picking up non customers. As he was a key part of the structure of the film, and got the best response at screenings, we compromised by me spending a day or two changing the colour from orange to green and removed all the branding.

Critical Response

LIFT was considered to be a ‘mature take on the world’ seen through the eyes of a hitch-hiker. It was well shot, the right length, did not need to be edited [any more] and really well cut. One juror was very impressed with how the film had got some really good tales from drivers and passengers. It made them want to hit the road soon.

Royal Television Society Jury

Brilliant film, well done, what a great idea, great stories, plus the guy trying to sell you breakdown cover. Excellent stuff!

Robert Llewellyn – Carpool, Red Dwarf, Fully Charged
  • Exposures Film Festival, Manchester, UK – 17th – 19th November 2009.
  • Royal Television Society Awards (North West) – 12th January 2010.
  • Glasgow International Film Festival – 21st February 2010.
  • Flatpack Festival, Birmingham, UK – 23rd – 28th March 2010.
  • Fordam Fest, Cambridgeshire, UK – 8th August 2010.
  • Film Insiders Talent Festival, Barrow in Furness, UK. 5th March 2010.

Original info I submitted to film festivals

Short Synopsis:

A unique portrait of Britain on the move, told from the unusual perspectives of a Hitchhiker and the strangers who invite him into their cars and lives.

Medium Synopsis

Nathan Rae hitches along the motorways and roads of the North to discover if and why people give long lifts to people for free. As we travel with him we hear stories of young women hitch hiking to India, workmen accidentally picking up drug addicts and the young soldier who was never picked up at all.

Why do people stop and offer lifts? What does a “proper” hitchhiker look like? And why don’t we see so many hitchers any more? The drivers offer their opinions, thoughts and philosophies about why hitching is so much more than just getting from A to B for free.

Length: 10min 00sec

Shooting Format:  HDV

Screening Formats: HDV, DVD, Digibeta.

Other details: 16:9, Colour, Mono.