Experiencing Interruptions?

Off the Rails

An autistic boy meets a girl with Asperger's. Despite their radically different characteristics, they learn to respect their differences and try to understand the world around them.

  • Alessandro Girolami
  • Alessandro Girolami
  • Alessandro Girolami
  • Elias D'Onofrio
    Key Cast
  • Francesca Murdoch
    Key Cast
  • Vesta Millard
    Key Cast
  • Dennis Holland
    Key Cast
  • Justin Morales
    Director of Photography
  • Evan Gardner
    Director of Photography
  • Andrew Schwarz
  • William Meade
    Assistant Camera
  • Josh Simon
    Assistant Camera
  • Rand Smith
    Assistant Camera
  • Alessandro Girolami
    Assistant Camera
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    13 minutes 27 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 30, 2015
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Sony FS7
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Hofstra University Film Festival
    Hempstead, NY
    United States
    May 15, 2015
    Premiere for my Alma Mater
    2nd Place
  • New York Short Film Festival
    New York
    November 5, 2016
    New York Premiere
  • NewFilmmakers NY
    New York
    December 21, 2016
  • Garden State Film Festival
    Atlantic City, New Jersey
    United States
    April 2, 2017
    New Jersey Premiere
Director Biography - Alessandro Girolami

Born and raised in Rochester, NY, I have always loved movies. I would always reenact scenes and impersonate other actors. I was never certain what to do as a career however. When I saw The Social Network in theaters, it blew me away. Everything about that movie was correct in every way. I enrolled at Hofstra University the next year to make movies. When it premiered at Hofstra's student film festival, I couldn't believe the reception it got. Some people came to me and told me they had family members on the continuum and the actors got the characters spot on. After graduating from Hofstra I worked as a PA on some features and television sets. I recently joined a screenwriting fellowship run by Mario Ducoudray, a former agent and movie buff who is good friends with Dan Fogler. Now I am submitting my film!

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

If I had to come up with the best word to describe growing up, it would be eventful. I met a lot of people over the years and learned a lot of lessons about life that have impacted me to this day. My escape was through the TV. I know it's that old cliche that movies and TV take us to different worlds, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. One of my favorite shows growing up was Thomas the Tank Engine.
Like me, Henry loves trains. As the title implies, it is related to Henry’s love of trains and when he feels all these changes in his life happening. I feel the main reason autistic children love trains is that they are familiar and stick to one pattern the whole time. He is about to experience something different when he figuratively goes off the rails by meeting Olivia. While she too has certain quirks, she enjoys buses. In essence, they are both opposites but I wanted to create a feeling where people would feel like they would indeed hang out with one another. Even though she doesn’t like trains I want her to take a huge chance and do something out of her comfort zone, because that’s always the place to go.
The best day on set is when we were at the trainyard, which is behind the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum. The foreman showed me a 1922 LIRR coach. It had old advertisements on the walls and it was positioned in such a way that all natural light came through the windows. Elias gave his all and Francesca was at her most sentimental mood in terms of the character. Watching the two of them come together in that moment emotionally was the most rewarding part of directing them. Francesca as Olivia, who in essence was everyone I’ve ever met over the years, told me it was ok to be who I was.
All in all, this is a very personal film for me and I would really love to tell it. Combining childhood memories, homages to some other really great films, a warm subject matter, and everything I’ve learned at Hofstra, I hope to make this film shine and for everyone else to enjoy. Thank you.