Rooftop Filmmakers Fund: Tales from the World’s Longest Yard Sale

Riley Hooper was a recipient¬†of the 2013¬†Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund Short Film Grant.

This past August I, along with three other filmmakers, set off on a journey to shoot a documentary at the world’s longest yard sale, which runs the first weekend of every August along US Highway 127 from Michigan to Alabama. We managed to travel all 690 miles of the sale in four days, and came back to New York with a hard drive full of stories from the people we met along the way.

The amount of traveling we had to do in four days was in and of itself ambitious. Add to that the task of shooting a film, and we definitely had our work cut out for us. Before we began our journey we had been in touch with a few people who told us they’d be set up along the route of the sale. However, in most cases we just stopped off at a location that looked interesting, and started talking to people.

We really only had enough time to stop and shoot at one location per day, so we definitely took many leaps of faith with this project. To me, the fact that we were able to capture interesting stories in each location is a testament to just how weird and wonderful and fascinating people are.

And now, after months of editing, I’m happy to report that the film is just about finished! It even has a title: “Elvis Loses His Excess & Other Tales From The World’s Longest Yard Sale .” An Elvis impersonator from Jamestown, TN is just one of the many lovely people who share their stories in this film, which focuses on items being sold and bought along the route to reveal personal stories about the people buying and selling them.

The grant money we received from Rooftop is currently going toward putting all the finishing touches on the film, such as color correction, title design, and sound mixing. We’re just starting to submit to film festivals and are extremely excited to share this film with an audience!

Director Riley Hooper with some yard salers in Jamestown, TN
The crew camped out in Jamestown, TN, sandwiched between tables and tents full of trinkets
Some typical yard sale fare in Danville, KY