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Kickstart This: Adam Baran’s ‘Northwest Passage: A Doc About Growing Up In Twin Peaks’

Kickstart This: Adam Baran's 'Northwest Passage: A Doc About Growing Up In Twin Peaks'

The strange-but-true story of how one teenager’s obsession with Twin Peaks took him on a wild and dangerous ride into adulthood is the essential and fascinating-sounding premise of Adam Baran’s “Northwest Passage,” a documentary looking for funding on Kickstarter.  

“Beyond simply exploring the impact of Twin Peaks,” the Kickstarter page says, the film is “on a human level, the story of a gay teenager searching for himself and all the chaos, confusion, joy and fear that comes with that difficult process, told in an original way. On the road to adulthood, Travis dealt with drug addiction, life on the streets, and sex work. The fact that he is able to share his story with others is remarkable.”

Sounds like “Tarnation” meets “Mysterious Skin” meets something different altogether, and we’ll gladly throw our support the way of its campaign.

Here’s Baran’s director’s statement: 

When I first met Travis Blue at an LGBT film festival in New York in 2005, we quickly bonded over our favorite films and TV shows: Twin Peaks, My Own Private Idaho and Tarnation, among others. During that time I was editing the influential underground gay publication BUTT Magazine, which frequently published edgy stories about sex and sexuality. In an email to Travis, I mentioned that I was looking for a good story and he quickly wrote back: “I could write about my wild adventures at the Twin Peaks Fan Festivals as a teenager.” I said yes, instantly. 

When Travis submitted the article to me, two weeks later, I was floored. In it, Travis described his experiences growing up near North Bend, Washington, where David Lynch’s cult series was filmed, and then charted his wild behavior at the Twin Peaks Fan Festivals which emerged after the show was cancelled. Travis took readers from 1992, when he was young and dazzled by seeing cast members in person, to 2002, when he returned to the festival after being unofficially banned for many years. It was a truly crazy story – filled with honesty, wit, and insight. 

What happened to Travis during those years began to fascinate me, and I approached him about telling his story in a documentary. What initially moved me the most about Travis’ story was that it told a tale that was very familiar to me personally – about a young gay man overcoming trauma and abuse through immersion in a creative world. Travis used the fictional world of Twin Peaks to insulate him against the horrors of his reality. Though that decision seemed like a good way of coping with a troubled childhood – and did for a few years, it ultimately wreaked havoc on his life in other ways ways. He wound up diving deep into drugs, living on the streets, and in an ironic twist that’s truly stranger than fiction – well, we won’t spoil it just yet. 

Millions of people around the world have taken their cues and be- havior from films, TV, books and other media since storytelling first began, but in Travis’ case, it played out in the extreme. The fact that he is still alive, and able to share his story with others, is remarkable. In Jackpot, my award-winning 2012 short, I explored the story of a young boy whose obsession with another type of fictional world – pornography – gave him the strength and power to assert his identity. Northwest Passage continues my exploration of this theme. 

With this documentary, I want to honor Travis’ courage and demon- strate how he came to terms with himself, his tumultuous past and forged his own unique identity. I know that Travis’ story will be a very relevant one to modern day audiences, and will move and inspire people who have experienced, or are experiencing the types of trau- matic experiences Travis did. I am very excited to be able to share this with them, and with you. 

Thank you, Adam Baran 

Check out the Kickstarter video below, and head here to donate.

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