Wagon Widows #2: So, how in the world…?

November 25, 2011

How did all this station wagon filming get started, you ask?

Well, if you want to go all the way back…
On December 22, 1985, Christopher Michael Zaluski was born to Mr. and Mrs. Michael
Zaluski at Aultman Hospital in Canton, Ohio. Exactly eight months later, Samuel Read Smartt, III was born to Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Read Smartt, Jr. at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, TN.

Skipping a few important details, various, pre-destined events brought them both to Wake Forest University twenty five years later to pursue a graduate degree in Documentary Film.

The pair unknowingly moved into rental houses not two hundred yards from each other in the fall of 2010. Several months after grad school began, it was time to select partners for the thesis film,  the central project of the Documentary Program.  Sam’s editing experience and Chris’s camera and technical skills led the two to pair up for their project. An article on Volvo’s 2011 discontinuation of the station wagon precipitated a more-than-healthy curiosity on the subject… why was the wagon being discontinued, and what did this mean for American culture and the American dream? They just couldn’t get it out of their heads.

Fast forward through several months of planning and lots of phone calls to the president
American Station Wagon Owners’ Association, and we arrive at the present: thick in the
production/editing stages of this student film. Sam and Chris, (heretofore occasionally referred to as “Sis”) have taken trips to Detroit, (the trip that precipitated Wagon Widows Blog Post 1), Wisconsin, California, Canada, Illinois, and seemingly everywhere in between to document the views of current wagon owners and experts on their iconic cars and get a taste of American history to boot.

Along the way, Chris and Sam have discovered that wagon owners are not only emissaries of the past, they are unique, reflective inhabitants of modern America as well. Their vehicles the bridge between the two, these owners have stories to tell about the most emblematic car in American history: the station wagon.

More to come,

Amanda Smartt, Wagon Widow


About wagonmastersthemovie

The car that was once the quintessential image of the American Dream is all but dead - at least for most people. Station wagons were America’s "workhorses on wheels." Today, they conjure images of outdated family photos, over-sized hairdos and unfashionable wooden siding. There are some, however, who still cling to these vehicles and what they stand for in American culture. Wagonmasters, a full-length documentary film, offers glimpses into the lives of such wagon enthusiasts, and tells the story of the station wagon as it represents a changing America over the last one hundred years. http://www.wagonmastersthemovie.com
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