“On the Trail” is a video series that developed during bike rides I took through the ravines and other areas just off the grid in Toronto. Everyday, weather permitting, I would hop on my bike with a camera and a notebook in my backpack. I would shoot things that caught my eye and take notes on what I saw. It was as simple as that: a man on a bike in a new city with a camera and a notebook. What was out there to see? How could I make sense of the experience? The documentary footage and the journal notes developed into a format that is both short and reflective. Each reflective video essay is approximately ranges from two to three minutes and explores how random moments create insights into the broader context of connections—between people, between places, and across time.
Michael Hess is a filmmaker and writer who lives in Toronto. His films have played at the NYU Director’s Series, NewFest, the American Cinemateque in Los Angeles, and the Kansas International Film Festival. His writing has appeared in The Malahat Review, Grain, The Dalhousie Review, The Big Muddy, Shenandoah, Glassworks, Red Savina Review, The Outrider Review, AlleyCat News, Glitterwolf Magazine, and in the anthology Creativity and Constraint (Wising Up Press). He has twice been a finalist for The Iowa Review Awards in the nonfiction category. For more information: visit hessstudios.wordpress.com.