'Ignition' Captures That Moment When We Become Car Enthusiasts

Illustration for article titled 'Ignition' Captures That Moment When We Become Car Enthusiasts

I think many of us can remember that moment when the spark plug in our mind hits that perfect mixture of oxygen and gasoline and our brain suddenly fills with visions of all the cars we want and never leaves. The short film 'Ignition,' which won the Volvo Cars-sponsored short film contest, captures that moment beautifully.

When I said I wanted to do a second film festival I made the ask that whomever sponsors it has to also agree to fund a short film created by a Jalopnik reader on the topic of "Why We Care" about car culture. Volvo Cars, thankfully, stepped on and agreed to be the premiere sponsor for the festival and fork over the production budget and provide additional logistical help.


Casey Phillips nailed the concept with his film "Ignition," which you can see above if you didn't make the festival. It tells the story of a teenager who transitions from playing smart phone car games to actually experiencing a real car.

Here's Phillips describing his impetus for writing the script:

First and foremost, it’s my opinion and part of my personal experience that people are drawn to things, be it, sports, music, literature, public service, and of course cars because of an emotional connection they make not just with the subject matter but usually involving a vivid experience with another human being that happens to take place in, around or with that thing they are or become attracted to.

The message behind the words on the page, that Nick, Doug and the team so artfully breathed life into was my attempt to demonstrate that hypothesis through a simple story about a grandfather and his grandson strengthening their emotional bond with one another through a shared interest in something beautiful that they can touch.

See, we all love cars, but I think for many of us our connection to them goes far beyond the paint job, through the steel and the leather and gets to a deeper place inside us, a place where the left and right brain meet somewhere between the science of the engine, the beauty of a curved fender and the intangible that is our experience with them.

After selecting the script we handed the film over to 8112 Studios and director Nicholas Cambata and director of photography/frequent Jalopnik co-conspirator Douglas Sonders. I'm quite happy with the result and hope you all enjoy it!


It used to be people would show and help you work on a car. Now it seems like everyone says "look at a forum" , "just take it to the shop, its not worth my time", and on and on. There has been plenty of times I wished I had someone to help me work on my car but, I guess people just see them as appliances and wastes of time nowadays.