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International Programme 2014
The Lost Highway Derreck Roemer, Neil Graham

Trans-Canada Highway, Ontario. What used to be a job machine is now a multilane track through abandoned towns with a few remaining residents. A poignant elegy on its heyday.

The Lost Highway

Documentary Film
74 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Derreck Roemer, Neil Graham
Derreck Roemer, Neil Graham
Don Rooke
Derreck Roemer
Michèle Hozer, Derreck Roemer
Neil Graham, Derreck Roemer
Neil Graham
This “Lost Highway” is a 40 kilometre stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway in Eastern Ontario. It’s also part of Highway 7, which connects Toronto and Ottawa. The street was built during the Great Depression in the 1930s – which may have been an omen.
At first it was a job machine. The first big East-West cut through the forests and swamps attracted motel and restaurant operators and every gas station owner could be sure to be able to feed his family on a modest, but fairly secure level. But the boom lasted only two decades. Today there is a multi-lane freeway that looks like a bypass and makes the former busy highway look like a varicose vein. Everyone who rolls along this asphalt ribbon today sees abandoned houses, businesses and gas stations on the roadside – the slowly crumbling, barely visible traces of former lives, failed plans and disappointed hopes.
Derreck Roemer and Neil Graham portray the lives of a scattered bunch of residents still living in this region, but also the mutations and collateral damage the culture and ideology of automobility likes to sweep under the carpet.
Ralph Eue