Cart – A Short Film

Ever wonder how abandoned shopping carts end up where they do?  Me too.

Written & Directed by Jesse Rosten
Music by Peter Lance

The idea for this film was hatched a few years ago.  Lyn and I were driving through town and had Radiohead’s OK Computer on the CD player.  As we drove by an empty parking lot, we happened to notice a shopping cart looking rather lost and disheveled.  This visual, combined with Yorke’s longing melodies, had us both feeling like we were experiencing something dramatic and cinematic.  So, naturally, we started laughing.  The next few minutes were spent joking about “the little cart that could.”   “Wouldn’t that be funny if…” “He’s got the heart of a champion.”  Fast forward a few years and we hadn’t forgotten about the cart.  When I learned that my hometown was hosting a film festival to showcase local talent, the idea of the shopping cart resurfaced. Can’t get shown up on your home court, right?  A few beers with friends and many script revisions later and we had a story.

The film was shot with no budget, over a few weeks.  The question I get asked the most is, “how did you get the cart to move?”  Simple.  String.  Ugly Braid 40lbs test fishing line to be exact.  We went through several brands before we found one that didn’t show too much on screen.  Even so, when shooting at 4k it’s hard to hide anything and I ended up having to comp the string out of a few of the shots.  Big thanks to Derek and Lyn for all their hard work on the production.  Also, this film wouldn’t be what it is without the beautiful music composed by Peter Lance.

Please enjoy the film and don’t hesitate to ask (in the comments section) if you have any questions.  For the tech-heads, this was shot on a Red One with Canon EOS lenses via the Birger lens mount.


  1. raul gonzo says: July 31, 2009 at 11:58 amReply

    well done Jesse- absolutely brilliant, even by the high standards I already have you at 8)

  2. Buffy Tanner says: August 1, 2009 at 1:58 pmReply

    FABULOUS! It made me cry. (Dave too, I’ll admit it for him.) We are not going to miss the film festival next year.

  3. Martin Weiss says: August 3, 2009 at 11:41 amReply

    Phantastic film, Jesse. I left a longer comment on Vimeo.

    You are very talented, young man!

  4. Kelly Salter says: August 5, 2009 at 1:55 pmReply

    Incredible, beautiful, hauntingly lovely. Thank you!

  5. Mike says: August 13, 2009 at 7:34 pmReply

    Outstanding job. Do you own the red?

  6. Mike says: August 13, 2009 at 7:37 pmReply

    And kudos on the music man. VERY nicely done.

  7. jesse says: August 13, 2009 at 8:41 pmReply

    I do own a Red. Thanks for watching!

  8. Alejandro Quiroga Alsina says: August 14, 2009 at 5:49 amReply

    Jesse, I don’t now nothing about the how-to’s of your work, I am a software engineer. But you had me moved, with a knot in my throat 🙂 Very good work, pls send congrats to the whole team and specially to Steve Lance.

  9. Mirek Veselý says: August 16, 2009 at 12:27 pmReply

    Beautiful film, Jesse. Very good work. – Mirek Czech republic – Prague.

  10. Emily says: August 19, 2009 at 6:39 amReply

    Beautiful. Loved it!

  11. Rodrigo Cerqueira says: August 21, 2009 at 3:44 amReply

    Jesse, as a amateur film maker, I LOVE stories. I film everything I can in my search for telling beautiful stories to the people. I’ve been at Sahara twice, Death Valley three times, mountains in Brazil several times, always searching for the right story, right light, right characters. That’s why I need to say, YOU ROCK, man!! Your beautiful and inspirational story of the cart catch us all in my small ad agency and at home. In some point of the movie, I thought my wife were about to cry. That’s really brilliant! I would love to stay in contact with you and with your artwork.
    Much love from Brazil!

  12. Eric Goldstein says: August 28, 2009 at 3:01 pmReply


    That was a fantastic film! I would like to think that I watch quite a few films on the internet, and rarely do I find one that matches the quality of this one. I found myself not wanting it to end. Congratulations. Have you thought about submitting it to the Oscars in short subject? I don’t think that that is an outlandish question, as I believe that you could have a real shot, especially if you already have won other awards. I loved it.

  13. Polprav says: October 22, 2009 at 1:17 pmReply

    Hello from Russia!
    Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

  14. April Coots says: October 31, 2009 at 4:56 pmReply

    Jesse (and team)~
    I’ve been meaning to look-up this film that you made for a while and just got to it…


    While I have come to expect high-standards of technical wizardry from you, I am so impressed with the emotional resonance of this film.
    You made me care for metal frame and wheels, a cart {!} –that has got to be a new benchmark in filmatic talent & storytelling ability. I was hooked from the very first frames and, of course, also quite teary-eyed at the end.

    Really beautiful work; bravo! Looking forward to the next one. 🙂

  15. steve says: November 13, 2009 at 9:48 amReply

    I don’t believe in films about inanimate objects. It’s a cop-out

  16. Megan Lynch says: November 19, 2009 at 9:30 amReply

    A recommendation through a friend through a friend etc. I grew up in Redding. I never thought it could look like that… Gorgeous film. You anthropomorphized a shopping cart and made me cry. Beautifully shot. I wish you great success and continued vision.
    Cheers, Megan

  17. Barak says: December 1, 2009 at 11:34 amReply

    Wow, that was brilliant. And beautiful. And the score is stunning. Great, great work man.

  18. Crow Skyler says: February 17, 2010 at 11:49 pmReply

    I love whimsical, and this hit the nail on the head for me. It’s such a beautiful short.

  19. David Flanagan says: March 1, 2010 at 1:45 pmReply

    I want a ride in that cart….

  20. Rick & Kristina Harmon says: March 7, 2010 at 7:47 amReply

    Hi Jesse!

    That was awesome!! We like to check up on you guys from time to time on the web. The pictures you did for us are still my favorite!! This short was amazing. Please tell Lyn we said hello.

    Take care,
    Rick and Kristina Harmon

  21. Oliver says: March 14, 2010 at 3:49 amReply


    im Oliver from Spain, i was surfing in youtube searching a video about strobe and i found the strobe jetpack video, then i decided to visit your website and, look what i find! it`s a short film! so i saw and i think ‘THAT IS TREMENDOUS! Congratulations! the images, the music, the CART even the kid are PERFECT!
    Buddy, you need an Oscar!

    My congratulations!


  22. Ian Van der Werff says: March 23, 2010 at 5:12 pmReply


    I’m a filmmaker from Redding but am located in Seattle at the moment. A friend told me to check your stuff out and I loved it! Great job keep it up!

    Thanks for the inspirations,


  23. Janine says: March 31, 2010 at 3:06 amReply

    This is a wonderful short film 🙂 The concept behind it is lovely 🙂 Kudos to you for creating such a professionaly made video without having large sums of money to back it up 🙂 More power to you Jesse 🙂

  24. Rick Larsen says: April 10, 2010 at 2:30 pmReply

    Wow that was very cool. Great quality. If you ever want to do a music video in Redding we’re available.

  25. Rob O. says: May 23, 2010 at 3:57 pmReply

    You’ve managed to lend such bravado & emotion to a lifeless cart. Fantastic!

  26. Mike says: May 26, 2010 at 8:33 pmReply

    This was beautifully shot. The music was great, if slightly overbearing at times. It reminded me of the Chef Boyardee commercials where the can follows the kid home. Honestly, it would be so much better with a lot of editing. It’s just longer than it should be for such a simple story. Condense it into a 3 minute film and it would be much more compelling. In no way should it be longer than 5 minutes. I was enjoying it from the beginning, but the middle dragged quite a bit. Just do quicker edits, and take out the shots that don’t push the story forward, you’ll see a great improvement. Just my advice!

  27. Victoria says: May 26, 2010 at 10:26 pmReply

    This was awesome! found it after watching ipad+velcro haha
    you should check out Rahmin Bahrani’s short film “plastic bag” im sure you’ll enjoy it
    great job!

  28. Grigory says: May 27, 2010 at 7:15 amReply

    Thank you for such a masterpiece. That’s what I thought about but have not realized. My idea was also around cart but with advertisement bias. I imagine how much work you should do to shot such a film and what efforts it costs to arrange people and inspire them!!!
    Thanks and kind regards from Russia!

  29. Robbie Kleij says: May 27, 2010 at 4:23 pmReply

    auWww… what a fantastic short film inspiring me to move on to my film about transportation automation even more.
    If only world of transport in the future would make us smile and cry as much as you did. Then the world would love life just that little bit more .. great story line cinematography and of course the music bring it all together to frames your wonderful acheivment. I’ve
    tweeted this for more hits and well worth it

  30. Ollie Brack says: June 2, 2010 at 4:42 amReply

    Loving your vibe, your style & your work Jesse.

    The opening kinda reminds me of The Days Go By video by Dirty Vegas – lovely Americana shot simply & beautifully. Great job @ creating such a subtly personality for the cart & not overdoing it.

    Congrats on getting on the cool hunter as well.

    Just about to send your site on to a few friends.

    Thanks & respect from London.

  31. Evelyn says: June 4, 2010 at 10:08 pmReply

    My young daughters and I just finished watching “cart” and loved it. We unanimously agree that it is well done. My nine-year-old started to cry because “it was so cute and touching.” We also loved the music. Where can we get a copy?

  32. sue says: June 5, 2010 at 3:18 amReply

    oh my gosh! absolutely brilliant!
    the cart had human characteristics and emotions! i went OH NOOOO when the cart fell into the water!

  33. Ellie says: June 13, 2010 at 10:57 amReply

    Why wasn’t this story a happy ending?
    The poor trolley at the end.

  34. Billy Boyd Cape says: June 28, 2010 at 7:44 amReply

    Found this link after seeing your iPad vid on Apple. Amazing stuff. Inspiring. Love what you were able to do with such a simple premise. I look forward to more work form you in the future.

  35. Carly says: July 1, 2010 at 11:59 amReply

    Wow, that is the best short film I have ever seen. It is flawless!!!!!!! Reminds me of “The Red Balloon”

  36. Jenn says: July 21, 2010 at 6:13 amReply

    That was fantastic. Pure cinematic brilliance and yeah, I cried too.

  37. Gage Preston says: August 17, 2010 at 1:22 pmReply

    That was inspiring, thank you for that.

  38. Johan Tholome says: September 2, 2010 at 12:16 amReply

    Hey this was wonderful… i just seen there was a little incoherence around the 2nd minute…

    but it was fantastic no less

    great job

  39. Ron Dawson says: October 28, 2010 at 7:08 amReply

    Wow. What a wonderful, touching story. It was kind of like a cross between a Nooma and “The Red Balloon.” 🙂 Kudos all around. Although I agree with Mike that it could be shorter (I think it could be just as powerful as a 5 min film), that takes nothing away from how moving it was. And the technical prowess goes w/o saying. Well done.

  40. Eveline Donnely says: November 1, 2010 at 4:54 amReply

    Cheers for this outstanding piece. I look forward to more like it in the not too distant future. Thanks again

  41. Luciano says: December 22, 2010 at 7:22 amReply

    Great photography, great music, great atmosphere, great story!

  42. Gautier says: January 4, 2011 at 6:35 amReply

    Hi Jesse,

    You do great shots, congratulations.
    On wide angle shots, could you tell me which lens you used ?

    Thank you very much


  43. jesse says: January 4, 2011 at 12:33 pmReply

    Widest lens was a 10mm f/3.5

  44. Megan says: January 10, 2011 at 7:52 pmReply

    I just finished watching this. Two times in a row. I will most likely watch it again to make it an uneven three. This is brilliant! I’m one of those people that personifies random objects, so this definitely made an impact. Wow. Amazing!

  45. Julie says: February 23, 2011 at 8:37 amReply

    Adorable film which my teenage daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed. I expected a credit to the cart, in the final credits…after all it was the star! Thank you for sharing your whimsical creativity and classy production standards.
    Here’s another story involving a cart:
    Makes the most sense if the viewer is a tango dancer; for those who aren’t, this little film offers a taste of what we tango dancers are addicted to. As I write my daughter is now watching the Stella video and of course we loved the iPad video. My daughter made me listen to the start of that without letting me watch, but since I told her it was tango music after the first note of “Cumparsita” she allowed me to view the video with her. I really like your sense of humor! Regards.

  46. gypsy says: April 14, 2011 at 11:51 amReply

    kid in front seat otherwise brilliant

  47. Paulius says: August 11, 2011 at 8:50 amReply

    Ah, the scene with the cart and the riverbed is pulling on some emotional strings. nice 🙂

  48. Prashant says: September 28, 2011 at 3:18 amReply

    Marvelous job…it complete held me. Wish you the best in your work. God bless you!

  49. Paul says: November 17, 2011 at 9:49 pmReply

    Excellent work! This is a great example that even without a budget, one can truly create great movies.

  50. David says: January 4, 2012 at 4:14 pmReply

    It is 2012 and I am seeing this for the first time, as you can tell. I was originally searching for an ipad + velcro video I saw a year ago ..know it? Well after watching it again, my attention was drawn elsewhere and for the next 10 minutes I became enamored with what I saw.

    THank You Jesse

  51. graphic design says: January 7, 2012 at 11:40 pmReply

    I don’t believe in films about inanimate objects. It’s a cop-out

  52. leave01 says: January 12, 2012 at 9:55 amReply

    Hey Jess, I’m german and I have to say that your short films are really the best ones I’ve ever seen. Especially your “Adobé” film has made you and your blog very popular in Germany. Congratulations and go on!

  53. amy says: January 12, 2012 at 7:12 pmReply

    this is gorgeous! in love with it. just shared on fb. thank you for sharing your vision.

  54. amy says: January 12, 2012 at 7:19 pmReply

    p.s. if you even need a producer in chicago, i’m your man or woman…whatever. i just want to work with you!

  55. Aaron Sipf says: January 15, 2012 at 9:00 amReply

    You short film Cart actually made me cry..I guess I’m a bit sappy, but I never would have thought that a film about a cart could have so much emotional impact. Wonderful work! Have you submitted it to film festivals? I hope so. Excellent commercials as well I might add. You are very talented, and I wish you the best in your future projects.

  56. Gabrielle says: January 15, 2012 at 2:33 pmReply

    love this film.

  57. Lea Searcy says: January 15, 2012 at 5:24 pmReply

    Jesse, you are magic behind a camera! Found you by a link to “Fotoshop” which I loved showing to my daughters. You should be rich & famous!

  58. Kathy says: January 25, 2012 at 6:21 pmReply

    Just brilliant Jesse- you are so very talented. In a world full of mediocrity, it is so great to see the work of such a gifted individual-way to go.

  59. Jimm says: February 15, 2012 at 2:06 pmReply

    Learn to say before you sing

  60. Laura Stroth says: July 21, 2012 at 1:00 amReply

    Fabulous! I just found your site through Tim Park. I actually got a bit emotional when cart fell into the water and then again at the end when it saved the little boy! WOW! Amazing stuff! I’d love to be an actress in one of your upcoming shorts. Stay inspired!

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