Narrative Short:  Western / War / Action / Experimental

“Ghost Of Old Highways” is a short film based on the song of same name from the album, “Highway Collection” by Lovett. Written by Dan Bush and Ben Lovett. Directed by Dan Bush

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“We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence”  – Joseph Campbell


‘Ghost Of Old Highways,’ is a visually stunning short film based on the song of the same name by singer, composer, producer and Georgia native, Ben Lovett. It is the fourth installment in Lovett’s series of “passionate, blockbuster-sized” (My Old Kentucky Blog) collaborations with film directors, interpreting songs from the album Highway Collection. The film, directed by fellow Georgian Dan Bush recently premiered at LA’s Carmichael Gallery August 10th to a buzzing, capacity crowd.

In the film, Lovett plays a man pursued by an invading army as he hunts down previous versions of himself amidst the purgatory of a fractured consciousness. The expansive script and film was inspired by the song, which Lovett also used as the basis for an entirely new score, bringing the project full circle. Shot on location in North Carolina, the film crew battled rugged landscapes and unpredictable weather atop a 5,000-foot peak near Cold Mountain to capture a surreal look and tone, conjuring a visual language that exists somewhere between Terrence Malick and Frank Miller. “We built a world for ‘Ghost Of Old Highways’ that exists beyond the edge of the frame, and the art show is an opportunity for people to dive in and swim around in the possibilities of that world” said Ben Lovett. “It was a new kind of event for a new kind of film.”

Inspired by a conversation between Lovett and director Dan Bush (‘The Signal,’ Magnolia Pictures), what started as a collaboration for a traditional music video became a much bigger vision for the song’s filmic interpretation. “I’ve never been a part of anything quite like it,” said Bush. “We went up a hill to make a music video and came down a mountain with a movie.”


When you listen to Lovett’s HIGHWAY COLLECTION you follow one man’s musical journey into his own labyrinth and back.  When you hear the last song, ‘Ghost Of Old Highways,’you are riding shotgun.

The “old highways” span the spaces between the thresholds of our identity; These roads are not on any map.

Throughout our lives we inhabit many different personas. After all, we are more dependent on culture for survival than any other animal and what makes us human is our need to belong: To be a part of something that transcends the self.  In primal cultures these rites of passage are often painful, humiliating & violent as the old persona is literally destroyed to make way for the new. The ritual initiation is marked by the “liminal state” – the time in between – when the pervious self is decimated yet the new self is not yet born.

Our culture is unique. We are all immigrants -essentially displaced from our past and continually searching for a sense of belonging; a family; a country; a political party, a church or a circus. Yet, our ceremonies lack any true transformative power. A car at sixteen. A paper certificate at graduation. Shots at twenty-one. Perhaps the closest experience of real transformation available to us is boot camp. But, arguably, military initiation functions to serve  the state above the family or community. Growing up in our culture the childhood self may die, but the adulthood self is never born; and so we are stranded in an endless liminal state.

Think of your life. What trials have you endured? What tests have you passed? What secrets of the world were entrusted to you by your elders upon entering the fold? And what ceremonies mark your life? A wedding? A baptism? A coronation? Perhaps you’ve achieved a high rank -or perhaps you’ve been outcast.

On the “old highways” you are between thresholds -between old identities that were given by custom, convention, law and ceremony and a new self that awaits on the other side. Upon each intersection you have a choice. ‘Ghost Of Old Highways’ is about the struggle in each of us to reconcile the past, to identify the false ceremonies, and to slay those previous egos so that we can become completely human.

The old highways are yours and you are the ghost.

– Dan Bush

Culver City, California, just outside downtown Los Angeles:

It’s ten till six in the afternoon at the Carmichael Gallery and people are starting to line up outside.  Inside the gallery, the crew is still working on last minute details.  Dan Bush, Ben Lovett, and J Christopher Campbell are fine tuning the screening room, (looking for missing cords and plugs) the Geisha Girls (minus the one who got lost) are nearly finished with hair and make up, the solders are dressed, armed, and starting to sweat in their wool suits, management is busy with a last minute media blast and Caroline Dieter Bush and I are fighting a mannequin that doesn’t want to stand up.  All in all things are actually going pretty smoothly…