Private Project

A Train Ride Away

Jordan Bohn returns to her hometown after years away because being there reminds her of her abusive father. She runs into her ex-boyfriend, Ryan Smith, at the train station and they go to their old haunt, the diner. During lunch Jordan realizes the past isn't really the past.

  • Lauren Schwartzbard
  • Lauren Schwartzbard
  • Lauren Schwartzbard
  • LeNia D Samuels
  • John Targowski
    Director of Photography
  • Chris Webber
  • Aisha Torres
    1st Assistant Director
  • Stephanie Dolberg
    Graphic Designer
  • Jessica McNamara
    Production Designer
  • John Tuohy
    Assistant Camera
  • Adam Harel
    Assistant Camera
  • Greg Taylor
  • Victoria Wilcox
    Still Photographer/PA
  • Spenser Spratlin
  • Isaac Jentzen
    Script Supervisor
  • Jake Coyle
    Sound Design
  • Annie Barson
    "Jordan Bohn"
  • Alana Hill
    "Sophie Pilar"
  • Steven Gamble
    "Ryan Smith"
  • Heather-Ashley Boyer
  • Olivia Basile
  • Gianna Turner
    "Young Girl"
  • Joseph Grosso
    "Father Figure"
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    13 minutes 27 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 12, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    7,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Temple University
  • Temple University BFA Senior Thesis Showcase - PRIVATE SCREENING
    Philadelphia, PA
    United States
    April 19, 2022
  • Playhouse West Film Festival - Philadelphia
    Philadelphia, PA
    United States
    Official Selection
  • Flickers' Rhode Island International Film Festival
    Rhode Island
    United States
  • WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival
    United States
Director Biography - Lauren Schwartzbard

Writer/Director Lauren Schwartzbard is a Philadelphia and New York based independent filmmaker. She is currently a senior studying Film & Media Arts with a Directing Concentration at Temple University. She identifies as a storyteller above all else and loves learning about the world through the films she watches and experiences.

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Director Statement

This script flowed from a moment of reflection while visiting my hometown over winter break during my junior year at Temple University. I was in contact with an ex-boyfriend while waiting for a train and that became my inspiration.

A Train Ride Away tells the story of a young woman forced into confronting her past and why what could have been can never be. The protagonist, Jordan Bohn, fled her hometown to escape the memories of her abusive father. She left her mother and boyfriend, Ryan Smith, behind. After growing estranged from her mother and ending things with Ryan, Jordan only returns for a weekend due to her mother’s need for a caretaker. She is not expecting to run into Ryan at the train station and then sparking old flames.

I envisioned the script as a rom-com, but what came to me was bittersweet. Ultimately, I realized the story I had to tell focused more on recovering from an abusive past and building boundaries versus a romanticized re-do of the past. I produced a new character, Sophie Pilar, as Ryan’s new girlfriend who represents Jordan as she could have been. It is human nature to wonder “what if” about our lives and in the film, Jordan runs headfirst into an alternate reality and an alternate persona.

Although Ryan comes into the story before Sophie does, the story is a competition between women. Despite them being at odds, the film aims to find empathy for women in the film. Initially, you’re meant to think that Ryan is a good guy who got stuck with a snobby new girlfriend. However, the story progresses, and it is revealed that he betrayed Jordan. This causes him to lose his ex for good and puts his new relationship on rocky ground as he is no longer trustworthy.

Hence, the villain in the film is Ryan, not Sophie. A secondary villain in the story is Jordan’s father. Although he makes no appearances in the film, the taint he left on his daughter and her hometown ruined her past and will impact her future forever. The film is an indictment of men for attacking women which includes failing to protect them.

When I started writing, I had no experience with physical abuse or threatening scenarios. Unfortunately, I do now, so my revisions come from a very personal and resonant place as I poured my feelings into the script.

As much as we can, we strive toward empathy without direct experiences and aim to put ourselves in the shoes of others to understand. This is critical for painful situations like physical abuse which is incredibly isolating. Films aid in building empathy and connectivity. A Train Ride Away will give women a chance to be seen, reflected in the media, and feel less alone.