The Mountain, The River and The Road (2009)

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Jeff (Justin Rice) is a failing post-college writer whose parents are finally kicking him out. With this in mind, Jeff takes off on a road trip to Austin, TX with his friend, Tom (Joe Swanberg); a final grasp at youthful freedom.

Their trip unravels when their beater car busts its timing belt and Tom’s ex-girlfriend intercepts Tom’s paycheck, forcing him to bus it home to resolve his relationship. Tom leaves with his tail between his legs while Jeff stays behind in Kernville, CA hoping to be struck with inspiration as he avoids the pressures of home. Unfortunately, all he ends up doing is wandering the sleepy small town and watching daytime television.

After locking himself out of his motel room one night, Jeff meets Cat (Tipper Newton), an attractive young woman also at a cross roads in her life, who just happens to work at the front desk of the motel. The two flirt awkwardly through a few encounters until Cat breaks the ice by inviting Jeff to help cut firewood for her Grandma.

Learning how to use a chainsaw, exploring an abandoned mine, encountering a dead bear, and night sledding are just some of the adventures in store for Cat and Jeff as they begin to fall in love.

Everything is in place for a great winter romance between the two, but the impending return of Tom, the continuation of the road trip, and the unshakable burden of responsibility hover as a reminder of how fleeting romance can be.

Written, Directed and Edited by Michael Harring