TRAIN STATION accepted to three upcoming festivals!

Train Station continues its journey on the festival circuit with screenings at three upcoming film festivals. The next stop is Train Station’s African Premiere at the Sudan Independent Film Festival from January 21-27, 2016 (screenings at 4:30pm Mon, Jan 25 & 7:30pm Tues, Jan 26). Then there is a brief stopover at the Berlin Independent Film Festival February 11-17, 2016 (screening is at 6pm on Wednesday, February 17th, tickets available HERE), marking the film's European Premiere. Train Station then travels to Washington, D.C. for its East Coast US Premiere at the DC Independent Film Festival on Thursday, March 10, 2016 (screening time and tickets available soon).

With Train Station gaining momentum on the festival circuit, CollabFeature is set to break its own Guinness World Record for Most Directors of a Film. The current record is held by its 2012 debut feature, The Owner, which involved 25 directors. Train Station has almost double that number with 40 directors, giving new meaning to the words “collaborative filmmaking”. Always evolving, CollabFeature is constantly proving to have a direct impact on the approach to modern filmmaking.

Train Station, follows a single character, known only as “Person in Brown”, through cities like Tehran, Detroit, Berlin, Athens, New Castle, Chicago, Dubai, Barcelona, Mumbai and more than a dozen other cities in five continents. The main character is played by 40 actors, ranging in age, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation.  Along his/her journey, he/she is presented with choices that trigger different paths, giving us a universal story of fate, decisions and destiny. Train Station unites cultures and breaks language barriers, reminding us that we all live under the same conditions of life in a world full of diversity, options and consequences.

Train Station is thrilled to be screening at festivals around the world, bringing the film to the homes of all of its creators.


CollabFeature's Train Station:Status Is Unknown

A Critical Analysis from Tomas Sinkariukas


The story gallops in quite an enjoyable way. And the acting is good in almost every fragment in spite of so many transformations, emanations and incarnations.

Of course it’s a bit irritating when you start to attach yourself to one incarnation, one image of the central figure (Brown), when you begin to like the actor and the character and then – snap – he/she transforms in a second. It’s irritating. But it’s a good irritation. It questions and challenges our way of perception and appreciation of films and stories. Mechanics of the Pleasure of the Screen. Or perhaps our perception of life itself.

If it’s an alternative – this fragmented perception of the world – I’m not sure. It may lead to schizophrenia.

But wait… It’s happening anyway, all over the world inside everybody’s mind, as time and life are speeding up exponentially, madly, every day, every minute.

So this rapid and permanent change of the central Persona (and everything else) in the movie, works like an elegant reflection/metaphor of our modern psyche – fragmented, disoriented, spinning, disappearing, convulsing, but still working somehow, desperately trying to cling to the semi hallucinatory logic of sequence, the string of life which is represented in the movie by the Plot (the narrative connecting the segments).

But there is another question rising out of this funny and demonic action kaleidoscope, this spiral motion of the Plot. It’s bifurcation or choice. (Creators of the movie are extremely interested in this problem of choice and openly demonstrate it many times in many ways. In fact it’s their basic theme)

By the way, kaleidoscope means beautiful shape in Greek. So let’s talk about it.

5da00c4f-6048-40ad-a41d-5982972684c7As the movie is more conceptual than psychological, in my view (psychology is not it’s strongest or most important point), we must concentrate more on the philosophical messages it contains, than on the dramatic aspect of the story(ies). Because it’s narrative, it seems to me, here works as some kind of carcass or structure or form – a container for the Content. This Content is philosophical. And there is the problem of bifurcation (map of possibilities in the heroes mind) and of choice (his/her imminent action).

Of “Either – Or” (not necessarily in Kierkegaardian sense).

But now we plunge into the deep sea. Or the shallow depth of the blindly enigmatic Ocean of Fate.

What does the movie say about choice except showing the very process of choosing?


The Creators do not have an answer and they don’t even try to look for it. So is this philosophy or the end of philosophy? Or both?

I think, they should have tried to go a little bit deeper, especially in a conceptual film (as I see it).

But I may be wrong.  Maybe it’s the “variety of life”, “the multi-faceted nature of human existence” that they are trying to represent here. If that is the case it automatically stops looking elegant to me. Remember kaleidoscope, that is beautiful shape. This work must not loose it’s beautiful form by trying to display reality. And it does not. As I said, I’m not impressed by the drama/psychology side of this work. And I don’t think it needs them. I don’t think this movie needs to imitate reality because it’s not realistic art. Of course it’s the question of interpretation. But I want to look at it as a manifesto, as something quite abstract and conceptual, pretending (with much fun and taste) to be realism. It pretends that it is imitating life. But it does not and it does at the same time. Because it’s the Fractal reproducing itself endlessly and beautifully and senselessly.

It’s the beautiful Form and the inconceivable Idea – that’s how it reflects incomprehensible reality of our existence. I mean, the movie. The spiral of  the movie.

“Art is the shadow of reality”, Mishima said. So art seems pathetic. But if you turn to philosophy or absence of philosophy (what I believe was the intention of this film , conscious or semi conscious) – everything falls into right places. And now art can at least ask essential questions.

train_still2  There are no answers. And there will never be. But there’s a game to be played. And Train Station looks like quite a good version.

Now, let’s go back to instinctive teleology, that is to Choice, Destiny and Fate. Introduction of vertical dimension (or  spirituality) in the final episode of the film is not really working. This attempt of summing something up…looks weak, naïve and sentimental. And what’s worse – obligatory. I don’t believe that those two  at the station can hear something. Maybe the old blind man, but not the young one. Even if he closes his eyes. No train is coming. Or if it is – It’s the train of civilization which has run amok and can’t hear or feel itself anymore, because everything inside and outside is just this permanent and absolute Noise. The Noise of Madness that has devoured subtle Music of the Spheres long time ago.

So I don’t believe that those two can hear something…ineffable. Two bums waiting for Godot 60 years ago were more sincere. They did not pretend to have hope. They said: “Let’s hang ourselves.” But even death was too boring for them.

There is no hope. Status is unknown. The heroe(s) of this movie operate in ostensibly multi dimensional , but really one dimensional space. Speaking symbolically, of course. Or maybe the hero is this single elementary particle that runs around really fast and makes up the whole Universe. But that’s just some clownish cosmological theory or fundamental solipsism and monadism of human condition. Anyway, there is no hope. And the final episode is really cool to watch. If only two men did not speak to each other at all…

Somewhere around the middle the movie slowly becomes overloaded and tiresome. There are just too many twists of the plot, too many changes and transformations, and in fact, too many faces. You try to remember all those nice, interesting episodes, but the film just keeps pumping on. And then the tension falls, and you really start to feel fatigue. And the narrative actually becomes more and more erratic.

The beautiful absurdity of the Fractal is changing into the nuisance of Chaos.

Image59At that point, while still watching, I suddenly remembered Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” – when they toss the coin and get “heads” one hundred times in a row. I remembered their sad and stupid expressions at the time when  Train Station started to tire me.

Train Station is certainly no chess game. Chess symbolically lost it’s secret after the famous Kasparov vs. Deep Blue duel. Today, the more science and technology we get, the less and less logic or Logos is left in our lives and our souls. Logos is evaporating and in fact our destiny is evaporating, too. Now it’s the law of Nonsense, not the laws of probability at work. Even when you refuse to play chess and prefer to throw  dice instead.

It’s always the non-destiny, collective and personal that shows it’s faceless face when you look around the corner of the empty street. It’s not even the face of a clown. It’s not your own distorted reflection. It’s something else. Horrible and indifferent. Stupid and apathetic.

To say – it’s the Void – is to say nothing.

You have to make a choice.

Because of the funny thing called self respect.

You have no choice.


Tomas Sinkariukas ___________________________________________________________

Some info about the author:

Photos from TRAIN STATION World Premiere

CollabFeature was proud and thrilled that "Train Station", our second international, collaborative feature film, had its World Premiere at the 18th annual East Lansing Film Festival on Friday, November 6, 2015! ELFF is the largest film festival in Michigan. ELFF takes place on the campus of Michigan State University. Over the last 18 years, the festival has screened nearly 2000 films and has hosted celebrity filmmakers and actors such as Oliver Stone, Michael Moore, and Bruce Campbell.[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="2" gal_title="World Premiere of TRAIN STATION at East Lansing Film Festival"] “Train Station” follows a single character played by 40 different actors from all over the world. When a mysterious train accident forces our character, known only as “Character in Brown”, to change his plans, he is confronted with a series of choices, some big, some small. Each decision he makes leads to a different scenario, each one filmed by a different director with a different cast. PHOTOS BY SAS.


Featured Filmmaker: Juliane Block

The Featured Filmmaker Series gives you the chance to get to know CollabFeature filmmakers through a series of interviews that give an inside peek into the minds and lives of our collaborators.

Featured Filmmaker - Juliane Block Juliane Block is a Berlin-based director whose achievements include 2 feature films,  more than 10 short films, music videos, commercials and travel documentaries. She has given lectures on different filmmaking subjects in various countries. Her work has been screened at festivals around the world and she participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus as film director in 2008. Her crowdfunding campaign ‘The Inner District’ won the Google sponsored Indiegogo competition ‘Gründergarage’ in 2012. Her feature screenplay ‘Foster’ was selected as one of the 25 finalists of the Screenplay Replay Contest in 2013.

1) Your background as a globe-trotting filmmaker makes you an ideal candidate as a world cinema voice like Wim Wenders. How has living and working in both Asia and Europe manifested in your works? Which of your films best illustrate "transnational culture", i.e. the convergence of East and West elements?

The biggest difference, I believe, distinguishing me from a German filmmaker who graduated through the common system (doing German film school and then moving on to government funded features or television) is the fact that those public funding doors are pretty hard for me to open. As a result however I am free in the choice of my subjects, and can pursue topics usually not done by German filmmakers: genre films and English language content for an international audience.

My work as a result has become more globalized through the influences of the different countries, best of all reflected in my last feature film "Kinks" which portrays the differences between the East and the West through two twin sisters - one of them looking white, the other one Indian.

2) You've been working in various genres but judging from your short-form filmography and your feature films in development, you appear to be geared towards action/crime, horror/thriller or science fiction. Can you tell us more about these projects and what appeals to you about genre cinema? Any thoughts about its commercial value in independent circles?

When I first got in touch with filmmaking it was through doing Zombie make-up on a home-made Zombie flick in 1999. I was always drawn to monsters or genre creatures. I devoured Sci-Fi and Fantasy books when I was a kid and even now I rather watch an Action blockbuster (if the reason for watching is mere time passing) than an Indie movie with a deep rooted theme and story.

Having said that the best films for me are the ones who have morally valid and solid underlying themes while telling an enticing story - then mixing it with pure entertainment. That's what pretty much all my future projects are about:

3 Lives Poster3 LIVES - a psychological thriller which deals with the topic of how people deal with their past - packaged in a survival thriller in the woods. FOSTER is an action Sci-Fi film about a young man who gets drawn into the organized crime circles in Hong Kong of the future, but ultimately tells the story of a man who grows up and forgives his parents.

Having shopped around my projects at the big film markets during the last year (AFM, EFM and Cannes) I can say that genre films are definitely a much easier sell internationally then drama or art-house.

3) As part of CollabFeature, what do you think sets you apart from the rest of the filmmakers on the roster? On the flip side, what do you have in common with them?

All of the filmmakers involved in CollabFeature combines a driving motivation to collaborate creatively, to get inspired by different cultures and create something unique. I am no different. If anything sets me apart from the rest, it might be the persistence to see it through to the end. With so many different voices the process of actually finishing something can be grueling at times, but luckily CollabFeature managed to gather a bunch of producers and directors who even stay active after years of involvement.

4) Over the years, short films have increased in accessibility thanks to a surge in mobile and Internet technology. Some people however opine that the advent in mobile technology could potentially result in a decrease in film quality and that over time films could lose their cinematic quality. As someone who has worked on a number of shorts, what is your opinion on this?

If you judge the quality of film in general by looking at all content produced and then rate it on average, maybe the quality of film did decline. But the amount of little indie gems to discover did increase as well by the increase of accessibility to filmmaking as such.

It is harder to find them in the massive amount of content available, true, and creates an environment of competitiveness - who markets his or her film best (not necessarily which film is the best.) But ultimately that's no change to earlier times, in which not the best filmmakers necessarily became the prominent directors of their time, but the ones who managed to beat all the odds in their way (being it the money you need to pay for film school e.g.)

The obstacles might have changed, but the opportunity to shine is there - today as it was decades ago.

5) Given the general decrease in attention span over the years, do you think short films are the way forward? Is it like films, but bite-sized and easily digestible?

The thrive of cinema today proves that there's still a need for feature films. And you could even argue that with TV being the new cinema - look at all the great series which came out over the last years - in some way the attention span increased. A couple of years ago I didn't imagine I would binge watch through a series, watching 4 or 5 episodes in one go.

I believe the internet as content platform enables us to watch without the restriction of a set time frame, as dictated by television for example. As a result new content forms emerged, like web series and previously less attractive formats, like short films, increased in popularity.

6) Based on your track record, you seem to be a bit of a festival junkie; which film festival do you never miss/have always wanted to visit or are aiming for?

Being based now in Berlin I'd love to premiere one of my feature one day at the Berlinale.

7) Of all digital platforms to upload your films to, which one do you think works best for you as a filmmaker?

That answer depends on the purpose of the upload. To present my work as part of my portfolio, the platform of choice is Vimeo. To reach the end consumer and promote, it's YouTube, and to earn money by self-distribution my favorites are currently VHX and Reelhouse.

Interview conducted by Tony Pietra.

Check out Juliane's:  Website  |  Facebook  |  YouTube  |  Twitter  |  IMDB


Train Station premieres at East Lansing Film Festival on Nov 6!

ELFF Graphic 2015 CollabFeature is proud and thrilled to announce that our second international, collaborative feature film "Train Station" has been accepted and will have its World Premiere at the 18th annual East Lansing Film Festival! ELFF is the largest film festival in Michigan.  ELFF takes place on the campus of Michigan State University.  Over the last 18 years, the festival has screened nearly 2000 films and has hosted celebrity filmmakers and actors such as Oliver Stone, Michael Moore, and Bruce Campbell.

CollabFeature’s first film, "The Owner”, screened at ELFF in 2012.

Here is a breakdown on the "Train Station" related events at the East Lansing Film Festival:

"Train Station" will premiere on Friday, November 6th at 9:15pm in Wells Hall Theatre A (Altman) followed by a Q&A with filmmakers and actors. Tickets are $5 General Admission/$3 Student Price. Tickets CANNOT be purchased individually online, only at the Wells Hall Box Office which opens Friday, November 6th at 6pm.

Filmmakers Panel Discussion with CollabFeature's own Marty Shea will be Saturday, November 7th at 12pm in Wells Hall Theatre A (Altman). This event is FREE.

Only 1 Pass is being offered this year, the VIP Festival Pass for $200. This pass will get you into all films, the Hospitality Area, and the Festival Party. You may purchase your pass in advance, here:

For more information:

“Train Station” follows a single character played by 40 different actors from all over the world.  When a mysterious train accident forces our character, known only as “Character in Brown”, to change his plans, he is confronted with a series of choices, some big, some small. Each decision he makes leads to a different scenario, each one filmed by a different director with a different cast.

Directed by 40 filmmakers from 25 different countries, "Train Station" is the second feature film by CollabFeature.

The East Lansing Film Festival (ELFF), the largest and second oldest film festival in Michigan, screens independent and foreign feature, documentary, short and students films from around the world. An important aspect of the film festival is the Lake Michigan Film Competition that awards films made in the states that surround Lake Michigan – Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.The ELFF was created in 1997 in cooperation with the City of East Lansing and Michigan State University. Since then, ELFF has been dedicated to bringing quality foreign and independent films to the state of Michigan in order to expose our audience to diverse cultures, ideas, and creative works.

CollabFeature Pitches Web Series at Film Week

IFP Screen Forward: 5 Tips on Pitching Web Series

by in Festivals & Events, Filmmaking, Financing From Filmmaker Magazine on Sep 21, 2015

Patrick O'Donnell pitching at IFP's Screen Forward Conference (Photo: Kelsey Doyle)
Patrick O'Donnell pitching at IFP's Screen Forward Conference (Photo: Kelsey Doyle)


The on-stage pitch has become a staple of documentary film forums, like IDFA and CPH:DOX, and pitch panels long ago snuck into events like IFP’s Screen Forward Conference (previously the Filmmaker Conference). But the on-stage pitching of web series is something relatively new at these more film-oriented events. Befitting the IFP’s conference name change, three filmmakers storytellers took the stage Sunday at noon at the Bruno Walter Auditorium to impress a panel of web content professionals with their ideas of episodic tales to be streamed online.

But given the Wild West nature of web series, where buyers, monetization strategies and filmmaker goals are all in flux, was the format a useful one? Were the filmmakers on stage perfecting a performance they’d likely do somewhere down the line to actual buyers? Or was the panel’s aim more rhetorical, to enable a dialogue about how we should think and talk about web series?

My opinion at 12:45PM — a little of both. Whereas a filmmaker pitching a script in Hollywood to industry buyers will be sharing with those buyers a set of assumptions — the film will be between 90 and 120 minutes, will have a certain budget, etc. — those pitching web series will be defining both the format as well as the content of their proposed series. That’s just one of five takeaways from today’s panel.

1. Define the format. “In this format, there’s no standard,” said judge Adam Goldman, creator of the web series Whatever this is, in response to a pitch by filmmaker Marty Shea. Shea’s series is A Billion to One, an ambitious, collaborative project in which episodes feature different people who want to change the world. The pitch started off by making it seem like a game show, said judge Ingrid Jungermann (writer/director, F to 7th), but Shea responded by describing it as “somewhere between a corporate drama and a Dickensian story.” All the more need to spell out precisely what the show is, all the way down to details like the number and length of the episodes, said Goldman.

2. Use Comps. Also in response to Shea, Randi Kleiner, CEO of the episodic festival SeriesFest, said there is nothing wrong with using comparisons. The panel remarked that Shea’s series, which will have different central characters every week, could be compared in that way to the well known web series hit High Maintenance. Shea said he’d never have thought to make that comparison, but he could see it. “Don’t feel you need to have the original idea,” said Kleiner. “Everything is built off of something else.”

3. Make clear your personal connection to the material. If there was one piece of advice that spanned all three presentations, it was this one. A creator pitching a web series must explain “why you are the perfect person to pitch this idea,” said Josh Poole, Director of Development at Broadway Video’s Above Average. This was in response to a polished pitch by Patrick O’Donnell of a web series about a single thirtysomething woman who decides to travel cross country to visit an ex-boyfriend after finding an unlistened-to mixtape by him. O’Donnell’s pitch was well received, but when he responded to Poole by answering that he’s a musician who used to own a small label, has plenty of connections in the indie music world, and has thought a lot about the relationship between music and emotion, everyone told him he should have put this in his pitch. “A lot of times people think they have to have all this information in there,” said Jungermann, “but it’s really just about connecting.”

The panelists had similar comments to James Martin, whose web series Monica is about a loner high school girl who is suddenly revisited by her childhood imaginary friends — a purple monster, penguin, monkey, and rat — while in college. It wasn’t until his pitch was over and he was subjected to questions from the panel that he revealed his lifelong love of the work of Jim Henson and his participation in a puppet workshop. Those references immediately addressed production concerns as well as connected his own passions to the series. “We’ve hit upon a richer vein here,” said Goldman.

4. Be specific about your goal. Web series are everything these days from commercial endeavors to labors of love. Again, someone pitching a network series is targeting a specific commercial form. Not so with someone contemplating a web series. Said Goldman to O’Donnell, “What is your goal? Web work is not judged same as TV and film. Do you want to be picked up by TV network or just say, ‘This is something I made.’”

5. Know the span of your series. Martin gave a detailed pitch about his Monica, explaining his heroine’s high-school years, her various social issues, and her relationships with her imaginary friends. But the storyline contained in his pitch ended just as the series would begin; in other words, his pitch was all backstory. Poole pressed him to explain where the series would go and what actually would transpire during the first season. Similarly, in O’Donnell’s pitch, Klein asked the director what would happen after his heroine reaches L.A. and then in a second season. Summed up Goldman after Shea’s pitch, “I think stories are given meanings by your endings. Know your ending.”

Still after the panel, I couldn’t help but wonder just how formalized the market for web series pitches is. I bumped into Shea, who is currently a member of the IFP’s Made in New York Media Center, and asked him his experience out in the field. “The range of what a web series is is so undefined,” Shea admitted. Yet, he did have one meeting at Vimeo recently, he said, and he asked if he could pitch them a series. “They said, ‘Your best bet is to release something, get over 100,000 views, and then they’ll start paying attention to it and fund it. But, [we] do listen to pitches before distribution or before you go into production.’”

Shea concluded, “So, yes, I think it is possible. This kind of thing — [successfulyl pitching a web series] — can happen and does.”

Collaboration Film: A New Genre in Filmmaking

Republished from the blog Comicaditya, a Blog about Films, Poetry and Photography by Aditya Powar

I’ve worked on a feature film in which I’m a director of a small part of a story and then this story continues by another director in another part of the world. And when it all comes together, it is magic. The film has a life of its own. It is unique and despite the fact that the main character is changing after every few minutes we still feel it is the same film beautifully interwoven to tell one big story. This film is called TRAIN STATION. Its a project started by I believe this is the future of film making.

Imagine you write a feature film break it into parts and people from all over the world collaborate to make that film. And this is happening. CollabFeature has made a film called The Owner. In this film the main character of the film is a bag that travels all over the world and with the bag, we travel with these endearing characters to find out who is the owner of the bag. This film was directed my 25 directors. Their next project “Train Station” is directed by around 40 directors [I’m one of them].

Another great example of the same style of film making is a film produced by Ridley Scott –  Life in a Day. It is a documentary shot all over the world to show the future generation our time in this world and remind them what it is like to be alive. A powerful film and I believe I should not call this a style of film but a new genre. Something like Collaboration Film or Collabfilm. Its a genre that has proven innovative and creative way of telling a story cinematically. This is also helping young directors like me to hone their skills as short filmmaker and yet be a part of bigger story of a feature film.

Through collaboration with actors, technicians, directors, producers, and artists from other field and above all from other parts of the world work together to make a unique story, a collective dream for the world to experience. Imagine the world making a film together to stop wars, unite people with differences or simply to tell a simple story about a relation between a girl and her pet. The ideas are limitless and the science and technology to make this a reality is already here. So what would you like to make as your Collabfilm?


CollabFeature has a New Home!

GreenGarageWelcomeCollabFeature is extremely excited to call the Green Garage our new home! Once a 1920’s showroom for Model T’s, the Green Garage is three main things: a community of people dedicated to Detroit's sustainable future, a business enterprise, and a building located in Midtown Detroit.  Co-founders Tom and Peggy Brennan purchased the building in 2008 and, with the help of over 200 wonderful individuals, completed a green, historic renovation over the next three years. Since opening in 2011, the Green Garage's principal work has been forming a diverse, supportive, and accountable co-working community and helping triple bottom line businesses (healthy for the environment, economics, and community) grow naturally. There couldn’t be a more perfect fit for CollabFeature and we are absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Green Garage family!

New CollabFeature Team Member

CollabFeature is excited to announce Brandy Joe Plambeck is joining our local team as new Project Manager! brandyjoe

Brandy Joe Plambeck is beyond ecstatic to be joining the CollabFeature family! Originally from Wyoming, Brandy Joe received a BA in Theatre from the University of Northern Colorado. Upon graduating, Brandy Joe traveled the country with a touring theatre company and not only learned the ins and outs of every aspect of theatrical production, but also met his husband, Sterling Heights native Joe Bailey. Soon the two moved out of their three suitcase touring situation and settled in a three bedroom house in Fabulous Ferndale and in 2007 formed The Ringwald Theatre with a few of their closest and most talented friends. Recently, Brandy Joe received a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Acting from The Hilberry Theatre at Wayne State and is excited to be starting this new, collaborative and amazing chapter with CollabFeature.