Off the Rails

Growing up isn't an easy journey...

Off the Rails Rikke Brewer and best friend Aiden Knox hone their spectacular UrbEx stunts and gravity-defying Parkour skills, hoping that millions of likes on social media will be their ticket out of boring Guildford. Their following soon takes off, but the trauma of a close friend's death triggers darker stories, of broken families and fragile mental health, threatening to send them both off the rails.

 Off the Rails
(2022) on IMDb

Festivals and Awards

LaurelDoc Edge | Winner | Best NZ Feature
LaurelBuenos Aires International Film Festival | Winner | Best Feature Film Documentary
LaurelPärnu International Documentary Film Festival | Winner | Best Youth Film
LaurelThessaloniki International Documentary Festival | Nominated | Golden Alexander Award
LaurelSheffield International Film Festival | Official Selection
LaurelEdinburgh International Film Festival | Official Selection
LaurelAntenna Film Festival | Official Selection
LaurelWarsaw Film Festival | Official Selection
LaurelInconvenient Film Festival | Official Selection

Reviews and More

Click here to find out about upcoming Off The Rails Screenings

'A bracingly kinetic snapshot of contemporary British urban youth.' – Screendaily

Interview with director Peter Day – Business Doc Europe

'Off The Rails is a very well made documentary, eye opening for those of us not involved in that world. But more than that, it casts a light on the plight of some of the youth of today who fall out of the system.' - OC Movies, TV & Streaming Revies

'Heart-wrenching' - Modern Times Review

'8 films we’re looking forward to seeing at Doc Edge Festival' - Flicks

'Off The Rails Wins Top Oscar-qualifying Awards At Doc Edge 2022.' - Scoop

' Even if you've never given parkour a second thought, Day will help you to see it through fresh eyes.' - Eye For Film

'A visceral, moving portrait of working class youth set against the backdrop of an unremarkable town in Surrey.' - Top 10 Films

Featured in Variety's EIFF Round-Up

'A candid exploration of contemporary teenage mental health.' - Screen Scotland

'Off the Rails offers sweat-inducing scenes reminiscent of Free Solo with a stylish urban twist, and a candid look at declining mental health among working-class kids' - Bertha DocHouse

'Director Peter Day has managed to pull a truly touching piece of work from the last place you’d expect it.' - The Shetland Times

'A Dalston-produced documentary about the world of parkour is enjoying awards success.' - Hackney Gazette

Audio interview with Peter Day - RNZ

'So engaging.'
- Cineuropa

The Producers

Peter Day - Director

Peter Day is a producer/director with more than 30 years’ experience working in Film and TV in Britain.

He has produced feature documentaries including The Hard Stop (BAFTA Award nominee), The Plan Came from the Bottom Up (Grierson Award nominee), and The Joneses (Golden Gate Award nominee), as well as television series including Madam Kitty’s Cathouse (BBC), Inside Gatwick (Sky) and Drugs Inc (Nat Geo).

His work focuses on people who are often considered ‘outsiders’, ranging from rebel surfers to sex workers, football hooligans to tv fraudsters, Imams to urban explorers. Some of the subjects have been involved in illegal activity most haven’t but all in some ways live a life that is socially not acceptable. He tries to find the humanity and the humour in the subjects to reveal a life less ordinary.

Peter’s latest cinema documentary Off the Rails, which he directed and produced, won Best New Zealand Film at Doc Edge, putting it in consideration for the Academy Awards 2023. The film also won The Best Documentary for Youth at the Pärnu International Film Festival.

Off The Rails premiered at the Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival in March 2022 where it was nominated for the Golden Alexander Award. It was officially selected at Sheffield DocFest, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Warsaw International Film Festival, Antenna Film Festival, DocEdge, Inconvenient Films Festival and Pärnu International Documentary and Science Film Festival.

It won Best NZ Feature at DocEdge (making the Oscars' longlist), Best Feature Film Documentary at Buenos Aires Film Festival and Best Documentary for Youth at Pärnu International Documentary and Science Film Festival.

Grant Keir - Producer

Grant Keir owns, and produces with, production company Faction North. He develops and produces feature films, feature documentaries, television and cross platform projects with a range of national and international partners. Grant teaches Pitch Training to his fellow industry producers, funded by organisations such as Creative England and ScreenSkills. He was Head of Studies on the leading international Rough-Cut-to-Industry-Launch Training Programme, Dok Incubator, 2018-2020. Grant’s recent credits include the TV documentary ‘Dreaming without Sleeping’ for BBC Scotland and the feature documentary ‘Suzi Q’ (Dir Liam Firmager - Melbourne Film Festival 2019). The short drama, ‘Lift Share’, by writer / director, Virginia Heath, was backed by the Scottish Film Talent Network (SFTN), premiered at Edinburgh International Film Festival 2018, screened at Underwire Film Festival in London in November 2018 and won Best Short at the Annual CPH Film Festival 2019. Grant produced the short documentaries ‘Three Chords and the Truth’, by Virginia Heath (2019) and ‘Silent Laughs’, which Premiered at EIFF 2016 and continues to screen at festivals around the world as part of the Scottish Documentary Institute’s Bridging the Gap series. Feature Film productions at his Edinburgh-based production company, Faction North, include a film that has already become a Scottish Classic: ‘From Scotland with Love’, (2014).

Rishi Ghosh-Curling - Associate Producer

Rishi has over 10 years’ experience in the TV & Film industry. He cut his teeth in Fact Ent and Entertainment on shows such as Secret Life of Dogs (ITV), Scam City (Nat Geo/Discovery), and magic show Troy (C4) before moving over to Docs in 2017. Rishi has since worked on films such as The Plan, which was nominated for a Grierson at LFF 2018, and Parkour Changed Our Lives (BBC). He now helps run Faction Films where he is Head of Development.

Rob Alexander - Producer and Editor

Rob Alexander has worked as a director and producer for several years, producing content such as Knockout Scousers for Channel Four, and Gary Numan: Android in La La Land for the BBC, which he also directed. He has also produced and edited a feature documentary for VICE International, Amber & Me.

Making The Film

Director's Statement

Off the Rails, is a coming of age film. I follow Rikke Brewer, as he struggles to escape his volatile past, while forging a career in the dangerous world of Urban Exploration - UrbEx. Rikke is attempting to monetise on YouTube the videos he shoots of himself and his ‘crews’ as they illegally surf trains and ascend tall buildings such as new Forth Road Bridge. Some viral train surfing videos have already got Rikke worldwide attention. But dangerous stunts come at a high cost. As the film reaches its climax, we see the emotional and personal price Rikke has to pay to his Mum, his girlfriend and his best friend Aiden Knox.

I have developed a close relationship with Rikke and Aiden over several years. As the film unfolds, we see that their relationship is like a Janus coin. Where Rikke is out going, Aiden is inward looking. Rikke achieves ‘success’ while Aiden struggles with ‘failure’. Rikke claims to make memories from an exciting present but Aiden lives in memories of a more innocent time.

Aiden doesn’t condone but can’t bring himself to condemn Rikke’s dangerous UrbEx stunts. Aiden becomes Rikke’s conscience, and so becomes the moral centre of the film. Aiden believes that Rikke’s ‘madnesses’, (as he calls his stunts) will be the death of Rikke. Aiden seeks salvation in the purity of Parkour and hopes it could be for Rikke too.

Rikke and Aiden have both given access to their UGC. The material explores the spaces between the private and the public. Another layer of meaning is added from the text and chat feedback they receive on their stunts; the ‘likes’ and the ‘dislikes’. These texts displayed graphically provide an ironic counterpoint to Rikke’s stunts. I am interested in exploring the sense that generation z are always online. In this digital treasure trove of out-takes and off-cuts, I have found revelations of fear, excitement, joy and despair - the emotional glue that binds the film together.

- Peter Day, Director

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