CAST AND CREW | LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR | ABOUT THE PRODUCTION | ABOUT THE MUSIC
Experience life on the Appalachian Trail like never before! Finally, see the movie that explores the world of long-distance hiking on America’s legendary mountain trail. Follow three “thru-hikers” as they journey from Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia over a magical summer, and discover what it means to “hike your own hike.” Olivia (Amy Cale Peterson) decides to “thru-hike” the legendary Appalachian Trail, a continuous footpath running along the Appalachian Mountain chain over 2,000 miles from Maine to Georgia. The journey will take months to complete, and Olivia is ill-prepared for the rigorous journey.
An outsider to the unique world of the AT thru-hiker, Olivia is quickly befriended by hikers Rollin (Scott Speiser) and Slackpack (Christopher McCutchen). As the three hikers journey South from Maine, Olivia is drawn to the charismatic but private Rollin, and is forced to question her motives for hiking the trail.
Shot in the summer and fall, Southbounders captures the unique American beauty of the Appalachian Trail. See this amazing world, and the hikers that live in it, in a film that Film Threat declares “feels more natural than most Hollywood films and has a subtle realistic charm.”
Southbounders follows characters as they explore the complexities of their lives, while giving audiences a glimpse into the world of long distance hiking. It’s a story of solitude and perseverance, an adventure through America’s rich and unspoiled soul.
Olivia has lost her confidence. She decides to confront her fears by hiking the 2,180 mile Appalachian Trail alone. She begins her hike in the remote Maine woods where she is confronted by the many challenges of the trail. She arrives at a shelter filled with male hikers. She tries to stay to herself, but the gregarious Slackpack won’t give her any peace. Slackpack talks incessantly, and initially irritates Olivia. But as they travel together, Olivia finds him endearing.
Olivia begins reading register entries left at each shelter by a poetic hiker, Rollin. She soon catches up to him; a wounded leg has slowed him down. Olivia tends to his leg, and there is an instant attraction between them. He’s mysterious – friendly and conversational, but reveals little about himself. Rollin writes in his journal every chance he gets.
The hikers continue their hike. Olivia and Rollin form a tight bond, but neither will open up completely. Rollin continues to hide his emotions in his journal. Olivia tells him he should try to get published, but Rollin doesn’t seem to have the desire.
Months pass. The trees are bare of leaves. The hikers’ hair has grown long and the men have grown beards. Olivia is increasingly tormented by her sense of duty to her family and her obligation to return to school — an obligation that would require her to leave the trail before finishing..