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U.S.A., 2012, 74 mins, Color (Adult Content, Language)



Directors: Drew Morris, James Murray, Jr.
Executive Producer: Patrick Stakenas
Producer: Drew Morris
Cinematographers: Shanne Cade, Corey Doyle, Drew Morris, James Murray, Jr., Grant Stakenas, Roaming Bear
Editor: James Murray, Jr. Original Music: Roaming Bear
Cast: Roaming Bear, Mike Rogan


Each year, thousands of kids from good homes decide they want to escape their suburban lives and families to embark on a crazy journey of jumping trains and riding the rails to anywhere. This gritty documentary chronicles the travels of twenty-four-year-old Conor Girard (aka Roaming Bear) who first hopped on a freight train four years ago and embraced life as a homeless street kid.  He travels the country playing music, looking for his next meal (sometimes in a garbage can), and meeting an eclectic mix of of street people, and street people wannabes.  Surprisingly, more people strive to be homeless and responsibility-free than one might expect.  In fact, Roaming Bear has now become somewhat of a guide who can safely shepherd other young adults through what could be a dangerous world that could keep every parent up at night.  When Mike Rogan, a fresh-faced teenager from a good family, announces he wants to experience life on the rails with Roaming Bear his family is concerned.  But they hope it is just a phase, and seem to find some peace in the idea that Roaming Bear is different: he is still in touch with his family.  If you love something, set it free is the theme for the Rogan family as tough as it may be.  They hope Mike's journey will simply be a rite of passage and that he will return home to them with a new perspective.  Exile By Choice is a low-budget, hand-held documentary made on the move.  It is the young perspective story-telling of the romantic journey of a carefree life that make this documentary special. 

Drew Morris and James Murray, Jr.
Drew Morris
With three feature length films under his belt, Drew Morris has mastered the art of making something from nothing. Drew came to Columbia looking for collaborators and left with a full production staff. His work covers music videos, corporate videos, short films, documentaries, and comedies. He has built the brand that is Born Ready and continues to do so as he oversees the next round of projects.

James Murray, Jr.
James Murray, Jr. has traveled thousands of miles searching for some of the most compelling footage there is to offer. His documentary work ranges from traveling the states to follow a train hopping musician in “Exile By Choice” to venturing to Mexico to document an Atheist joining a Christian Missionary Group. Jimmy has the rare ability to weave random footage into a story.

06/16/13 11:00 AMVenue 3C (MTC)
Michigan Theatre
210 Center Street


(269) 767-8765 / WATERFRONT FILM FESTIVAL, P.O. BOX 904, SOUTH HAVEN, MI 49090