Start Your Engines! DUEL Documentary Revs Up{0}

A crowdfunding campaign is now underway to fund The Devil on Wheels, a feature-length documentary about the making of Duel, Steven Spielberg’s hugely successful 1971 TV movie, and the cult that surrounds it. The campaign will run for the next 30 days in an all-or-nothing basis.

The project’s goal is to achieve a minimum of £60,000 that will enable the film to be shot this summer in the USA. In exchange of financial support the production company offers to backers a wide variety of rewards: copies of the film, books, new posters, film credits and even the appearance in the actual film.

In Duel, a Movie-Of-The-Week shot in 1971, a terrifying truck, whose driver we never see, for no apparent reason chases a lone driver along the desert roads of Southern California. Such was its success, that the TV film was extended and distributed as a film worldwide.

The crowdfunding campaign started at 5pm GMT, unveiling the project page and its teaser trailer, which was filmed in four countries. Two years ago, an international group of Duel fans joined forces to make this project a reality. Throughout the campaign, the team will première at least three short documentaries about very special Duel fans.

The Devil on Wheels project has the approval of both NBC, Universal Pictures and the community of the very loyal fans of Spielberg’s film. The Devil on Wheels team, coming from Italy, China, Spain and England, is scheduled to tour the U.S. exploring the Duel phenomenon: it will interview the surviving members of the Duel crew, reconstruct the way the film was made, and meet with fans and experts to discuss the ongoing appreciation of the film.

How did this tiny film, made cheaply and quickly for TV, generate such a passionate, international and undying cult? That’s the question the documentary wants to answer. The Devil on Wheels aims to find out what makes Duel so unique and, in so doing, will explore the power and fascination of films on people.

Duel fans from all over the world regularly visit the film locations in the desert next to Los Angeles. They go to see the surviving truck in North Carolina. Would-be filmmakers analyse the way it was made. Steven Spielberg’s made-for-TV movie has become a key cinematic reference – for example, director Alfonso Cuaron revealed he used Duel as a source when he made Gravity.

NB The title of the documentary, The Devil on Wheels, is the literal translation of the Spanish title of Duel, and it’s been chosen as an homage to the international recognition of the film. 

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