An emotional group of family and friends gathered Friday in downtown Fort Mill to say their goodbyes as Adrian Jackson began a long journey across the United States – on foot.
The 24-year-old independent filmmaker plans to run from York County to Los Angeles over the next three months. He hopes the effort – along with a documentary of the trip that will be filmed along the way – will raise working capital for his film and video production company, as well as raise awareness about the South Carolina film industry.
Jackson, a former track and cross-country athlete, said he expects to run between 25 and 30 miles per day to reach his goal. “I am anticipating a lot of pain,” Jackson said Friday morning, twirling a lucky rabbit’s foot as he waited to get underway.
A 2014 graduate of the Art Institute of Charlotte, Jackson focused on film and video production and after graduation started a film company, Black Forest Films. His website lists a number of video production efforts, but is looking to raise his profile as a film producer. In October, Jackson said he knew he wanted to combine his two passions.
“I asked myself how could I separate myself from other filmmakers,” Jackson said. “I definitely want to make the documentary a personal piece.”
“Before there was film, the only passion in my life was running,” he explains on his Go Fund Me page. “I competed in track and cross country training, day in and day out, to be the best. Since I still run, the brilliant idea popped in my head to combine my two loves, filmmaking and running, in order to advance in my film career.”
After he finished competing in track and cross country events, Jackson says, he felt a great emptiness that only the pursuit of film has filled.
“Film allows me to express what I feel in a creative way. When starting a business, everyone knows the beginning is going to be a very, very bumpy road with struggles, setbacks, and multiple challenges,” he says on his web page. “Everything in the entire world first started with an idea. In my opinion, your ideas, your imagination, and your vision are the most important things you can have.”
Jackson said his hope is to raise awareness for Black Forest Films and the lack of film production in the area. His fundraising page has raised just under $800 toward his goal of $500,000, but “I believe that to accomplish unbelievable dreams you have to do unbelievable things.”
About a dozen or so family, friends and well-wishers gathered underneath the gazebo downtown and formed a prayer circle late Friday morning, praying for his safety and wishing Jackson well in his effort to complete the trip.
He won’t be alone on the roughly 2,400-mile trip to Los Angeles. His friend Carlos White will be driving behind Jackson, filming the journey for their planned documentary. Jackson and White intend to camp along the way and have stuffed their sedan with a tent and basic necessities.
Upon arrival in Los Angeles, Jackson and White said they will begin editing the documentary. He said he plans to contact media and filmmakers in Los Angeles to bring attention to his journey.
“I am looking forward to finding a bed and resting when I get there,” Jackson said.