Lena Faber in Daily Leader

Scripting story on Route 66 experiences

What do you get when you put a Russian journalist, who lives in South Africa, on the Mother Road of America? The answer, evidently, is a screenplay — with hopes for the script’s eventual projection onto the silver screen.

Its creator, Lena Faber, is basing the work off of her travel experience on Route 66 a couple of years ago, which she describes as “ridiculous enough for a movie.”

A worldly globe-trotter, Faber was born in Moscow, worked as a journalist for what she called a “proper paper,” and, after a trip to South Africa in 2009, has resided there since. In the summer of 2015, she set to traverse what was once America’s main artery from Los Angeles to Chicago by bicycle.
Why Route 66, specifically?
“I’m Russian, so I was growing up in the Soviet Union, when all this pop culture was prohibited,” she said. “So whatever information we could get about music or whatever was illegal, but of course we got a little bit of it. I’ve always been interested in the golden age of American culture, which to me, is Route 66, so I was curious to see how it now is, and if still existed.
“I understand that those times are gone, even probably before I was born, but still, I think it’s extremely interesting.”
Faber has a wry rationale for choosing to bike her way across the country rather than cruisin’ USA via motor vehicle, to say the least.
“Cars? Cars are too slow,” she said. “I’m sorry, 65, 75 mph on a highway is just — not — acceptable.”
So does Faber have an 80-mph bicycle prototype, something of which the world has never seen?
“I like to bicycle because when you are on a bicycle, you go your speed, and however fast you can go, is how fast you can go,” she said. “When you put the pedal to the floor in a car, you are going to catch the attention of police. On a bike, it is under your control, not police control.”
While Route 66 has attracted many cyclists and wayfarers, Faber believes that the ridiculousness of her journey warranted her writing a screenplay about them. Such involved her getting bitten by a dog in Oklahoma, investigating the dog’s drug-dealer owner, aided by a woman she’d met, whom she referred to as a frequently fainting version of Bette Midler.
“It’s so ridiculous, it’s hard to even describe,” she said, laughing.
While in Pontiac two years ago, Faber got caught in a two-day rainstorm. Brad Trainor, owner of the Old Log Cabin, was kind enough to offer her a place to stay. But in her time in the city, she found its fascination with Route 66 rivaled her own, and the people nothing but friendly, citing it as one of her favorite stops.
“Pontiac has been wonderful,” she said. “The people I’ve encountered have been so very nice, and you have all the murals and paintings and museums, it’s amazing.”
Faber said that the synopsis of her script is finished, with a couple of scenes already penned as it remains a work-in-progress. She’ll remain in the area for a while yet, and hopes residents come out and join her at the Old Log Cabin for a slide show presentation of her journey on July 25 at 5:30 p.m.

Posted Jul 15, 2017

Pontiac Daily Leader - Pontiac, IL

Lena Faber used to work as a journalist at a mainstream Russian newspaper, wrote books for a major publishing house, and directed her original concept on TV. In 2009, she moved to South Africa, taught at the university, took up running, and earned a silver medal at the World Masters Athletic Championship in California and, in the meantime, won an international photo contest with following up solo exhibition. In 2014 she "shut the door" and gone hiking the Appalachian Trail, cycling from Chicago to LA (US Route 66), from Maine to Florida, from London to Orkney, etc. Now in MidCoast, Maine.