Home; Imprint; Download


Vertical Traveler

Broadcast Premiere: PBS/ Channel Thirteen July 2002

Production: Schenk Productions
Year: 2001
Genre: Documentary
Length: 45 min
Format: DV, Super 8, Super 16

Review Highlights

"fanciful… lyrical… atmospheric" (All Movie)


In New York more people spend time in the elevator than in the bus and every elevator has its own stories. Exile Cuban Aurelio Alvarez is a self-proclaimed 'elevator man'. He has committed his life to the vertical travel in the vertical city.

Vertical Traveler focuses on the elevator and the role the elevator played in the shaping of New York City. Clearly, contemporary New York is unthinkable without the elevator, and Vertical Traveler tells that story, a story about the ways technical innovations transformed the cityscape and the lives lived in that place. In the space of a short documentary, Vertical Traveler engages the advances in engineering and the architectural possibilities they made possible, along with the historical and social consequences of that innovation. But the film doesn’t just consider the technology; it also offers portraits of the people who install and maintain elevators and of the people who use them, the whole work - as the best pieces of creative nonfiction will do - combining historical, technological, sociological, psychological concerns.


Writer and Director: Katja Esson

Camera: Martina Radwan

Editor: Dan Dunbar

Producers: Katja Esson, Sabine Schenk, Corinna Sager

Music: Cassis, David Cossin