In the near future, where automated and electric vehicles dominate the highways, a young auto mechanic struggles to keep his family’s roadside rest stop afloat and find his place in a newly mechanized world. A subtle sci-fi drama that explores the unintended consequences of automation and modernization.

Director’s Vision for ‘Rest Stop’

REST STOP was a project that grew out of many parts of my life. When I was younger, my best friend’s family retail business started to fail. The day it closed is seared into my memory. My friend called my house and asked if he could come over, which usually meant TV or video games, so of course, I said yes. When he arrived, it was clear he had been crying. He pretended nothing was wrong and I didn’t push it. My parents later explained that he was moving away so his parents could attempt to start again. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, the reason for the closure was the rise of internet shopping. What I did understand was that my friend wasn’t crying for the loss of the business, but for the life he had to leave behind. It was hard to see him leave. We attempted to stay close as best as 10-year-old-kids could, but eventually, we grew apart and the circumstances of his departure faded from memory.

A decade later, I was driving up to Denver as I had many, many times before. The public radio station was on to pass the time, playing a report on automated cars. I wasn’t particularly intrigued until one of the pundits made pointed out the economic effect electric and automated vehicles will have on small highway towns. It was a brief, passing comment but my mind immediately went to my childhood friend and his family. Just like they lost their livelihood to the internet, so too would the owners of rest stops and roadside attractions lose theirs to the rise of electric cars. When I started to look into the subject, I realized the conversation tended always to be framed in relation to economics and never to the actual people affected. For me, REST STOP is an examination of the real, human consequences that go hand in hand with technological progress.