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Published on Jun 25, 2015
Based: Stanford, California
About the film: I was interested in making a film that took place entirely on a bus, because I was intrigued by the idea of buses as socially dynamic spaces that can reveal something about society. When I heard and read about the ‘Hotel 22’ phenomenon, I saw the world on this bus as a microcosm of the profound inequities and injustices within Silicon Valley and perhaps the nation at large. But my goals for this film were modest. I knew I couldn't unpack all the economic factors that lead to the "Hotel 22" phenomenon in Silicon Valley, or do justice to all the life stories that inhabited this bus within a short or even a feature. So I decided the most effective way to convey what I felt was important about this story was to simply put viewers in the riders' shoes for just a night. With ‘Hotel 22’, I hoped to give primacy to immersion over information; I wanted to convey the experience of finding refuge on the 22 without resorting to the manipulation of individuals' biographies or sentiments to tell their story. I hoped that a less mediated portrayal of a night on this bus would lend itself to a film that gained power through simplicity and directness. Rather than telling audiences what the passengers might be thinking or feeling, I hoped that silence would encourage viewers to imagine it, and in doing that, engage in the act of empathy through film-watching.