The Only Subaru Documentary Worth Watching
Subarus Unite

If there’s one concern that weighs heavy on me with regards to automotive media, it’s that the art of crafting intricate, long form content is slowly dying.

I’ve briefly wrote about this in past editorials, and about the constant tightrope walk between trying to balance quantity and quality. The stark reality is that most people today either don’t have the time or want to give the time to immerse themselves in a carefully crafted piece of content. They want an attractive headline to lure them into something with instant gratification before they move on to the next thing. The problem is that by the time they’ve moved on to the third or fourth piece, they’ve already forgotten about the first one. This is literally disposable content.

Some people still do care about creating their art – be it words, photos, videos or whatever – and this is a perfect example of that. Between The Lines is a feature length documentary created by Jan Lim & Jose Valdez which examines the tight knit Subaru community. It’s far more than just a film about Subarus, too. It’s a look at what makes our automotive community so special, something which we often forget, and it goes much deeper than being just about the cars.

With a runtime of some 66 minutes, it’s something that you should take the time to sit down and appreciate properly, rather than trying to consume it in bite size pieces. It’s an absolute labour of love for both of the main people involved with it, and they both recall the sacrifices and motivation required to see this across the line.

Jan Lim (Creator): I wish I could say that I had a long history of Subarus being in my life but I don’t. However, I was always into cars and driving. Driving gave me this feeling of freedom. It let’s me feel alive and in control of my life. Our lives are literally in our own hands if you think about it, so I made a documentary. The more I said I was going to film it the more I believed in myself.

I would like to think that energy started bringing the right people around to work on this. We traveled, shot, talked creative, met people, traveled some more, work on our craft, and started dreaming about the completion and future of this little baby that we raised.

Thinking about this whole experience and reminiscing over the images, I think the best part about it all was meeting so many amazing people. S/O to my family, my fiancé, my friends, and everyone who has in some way touched this film.

Jose Valdez (Producer): There were numerous sacrifices we had to make to complete this. More filming, more editing, losing sleep, constantly driving between San Diego and Los Angeles setting up editing stations at each other’s houses. Looking back, it was all an experience. It expanded my creative ability, test of endurance, and test of motivation to keep going. It was more than a film for me, it was hard to keep going when there were bills to be paid, time with my family and girlfriend lost but when I sat there and edited, I felt the need to give these special people that light. Because of what they do and the sacrifices they make. That is how we grow.

I know family was worried that I was making this commitment knowing there was no money involved making this project. The sacrifices is the money, it was knowledge, it was meeting all these amazing people and the experiences that came along with it. To create freely and expand yourself is the money. Being a filmmaker, I never felt connected with a project where I was able to fully push my creative box. To create, is priceless. Like painting, making music or whatever your knit is. The purpose of filmmaking for me is to create, document, and develop something that actually has purpose.

Regardless of your allegiances, it’s hard not to admire both what they’ve created and the Subaru community itself. It’s also a reminder, because one is always required, that cars, like people, exist in the real world.

And that without the people, the cars wouldn’t exist.

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos

Behind the Scenes


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Please remove that rediculous opening monologue, it's a poor blend of misguided virtue signaling and nonesene, art speaks for itself.


Ridiculous? It is the reason for the movie. i


I'm so glad that out of this whole film this little part made you feel some sort of way. I guess all it took was the first 5 minutes. I'll remove the comment if you where my boss, but let me remind you again this full feature documentary was self produced so as "art" an "artist" is free to do whatever he or she may like. Thank you.


*Ridiculous ..but nice use of smart guy words after that. The intro didnt bother me one bit.. but then I wasnt exactly expecting the renaissance
You know? Great watch - Man I wish there was better integration of the WRC and North America


Wow. Have you ever wanted to share your feelings with anyone else? As The Family Man in this movie, I know Jan and this is the great guy he is. Learn from his example.


Ok, if it is indeed the director’s first publicly released project (as he mentioned @ 26:22) its a great start technically. Excellent shot compositions, cinematography and professional-level video/sound editing.

Calling it a documentary, however, is a bit of a misnomer. It’s the video equivalent of an advertorial if we’re honest.

Paddy, I feel your pain about long-form media online, but there’s similar sets of issues at play that tend to hold the content back. Here’s a few from this film which certainly applies to other recent works.

-High production value, little substance.
This comes from the over reliance on technology. Think “The New Girl” tv show which had terrible writing, but looked like a big-budget movie. Lots of things get cred just by being beautifully presented. Quality content and writing is key online where there’s no such thing as a captive audience.

-Documentaries need to be informative.
There’s nothing particularly new presented here. Most of the content revolved around why the Subaru intelligentsia likes Subarus. To be blunt, The hive mentality was cringeworthy. Not to mention, there was too much gratuitous delusion concerning social life and cars. That time could’ve been spent diving into the nuts and bolts of the actual products. Explain what TANGIBLY makes a Subaru better than other cars.

That said, it does adequately portray how Americans have substituted spirituality for brand worship. People naturally have a need to fill the “voids” within their lives. If a car can do it, okay, but it doesn’t make the content compelling for the “uninitiated”.

Emotional tie-ins are okay in small doses, but then the PUPPY segment started...and it was more than a little didactic. Then came the acoustic guitar...and a dog with cancer. Too much mush (in this context) isn’t professional nor remotely objective.

I personally owed a 2000 Subaru Outback. I purchased it because of the engineering and (compared to its rivals) it had a better chassis, interior and build-quality. As an owner, I enjoyed the car, but felt that the company’s engineering prowess was spread a little thin (at that time). They’re holistically better than virtually any USDM car, but require more maintenance and attention (diff fluids, oil blow-by, tricky diagnosis, quirks, etc).

Would I consider buying another one? Sure, but my decision wouldn’t be based on media composed in this fashion.

If there’s any corporate big wigs reading this: the guys did a good job, but successful media/advertising is an art NOT a science. Describing works like this as “hit or miss” doesn’t even scratch the surface.

In summary: good job, great better.


Thank you so much for the feedback Scooby Did. I really appreciate the thought and time that you put into this. It really starts a discussion about several things like advertisement and feeling.

This project was self driven and done on my own intentions. I create advertisement for a profession so I have somewhat of an understanding in that world. This is my outlet to not do that. I didn't have a client that I was trying to please. I wanted to show my life and the Subaru community and friends that I surround myself with. Everyone has their own network. Yes, I agree that as a documentary we have to educate but we also need to make people feel again as Paddy briefly mentioned. You are well educated but imagine all the countries that are now watching this where being lesbian or saving animals isn't even in their day to day lives. You can only imagine that this will open new avenues for them. You can teach people history and facts with google but the takeaway for me is to make people feel.

I wanted to also thank you for sharing your story about your Subaru and for meme, definitely saving that! Next time try creating original content.


Wow, have you ever made a movie? Or appreciated the happiness of being part of something bigger? I am The Family Man in the film. Did you consider my story having nothing to do with the mechanics of a Subie? You write a lot of words and nothing more. it's too bad. If you knew Jan you'd know that his humanity was on deplsy in this film. And questioning his part about his dog that died of cancer was about how being part of something bigger helps us all. Enjoy the west of your life.


I understand that you appeared in it and you're having a "mom, I'm on TV moment", but if somebody is criticising something, it doesn't mean you immediately have to start bashing on the criticism. He clearly said, that as a first time - this looks like a great production, but he also gave points as to what are the downfalls of it. Don't be one of the people who can't take criticism, as it's also a vital part of creating.


This is the type of comment I like


I believe this is a case of overstear


I agree with Scooby. You can put the same dialogue to a backdrop of just about any other manufacturer and it would fit perfectly. Just substitute specific details like "22B" for "GT350," "DC2 Type R," "Tommi Makinen Edition"... whatever fits your personal brand of choice. A lot of us wave to others on the road that are obviously more enthusiastic about our same brand than the average Joe that wouldn't even think to be checking out the cars around them. Too many car enthusiasts have sob stories in their past that also use their cars as an outlet, simply because there are a lot of us out there and hard times are a fact of life.

That said, I did enjoy the video. It came off as corny and predictable, but was at least worth the hour of my time. I just prefer documentaries that delve more into the facts of a car/brand's pedigree.


Thanks David for stating that. It is true that you can take any car culture and find these stories. I just happen to be in the Subaru one. Easier said than done though. Much love!


I was skeptical to watch this at first, but know SpeedHunters only shares the best in car culture. I got sucked in right as I started watching. This doc was absolutely amazing, from a car culture and human stand point. Very inspirational, and I really appreciate you guys sharing this!


As the fellow in the film, The Family Man, thank you for your comments. Please share the movie with friends and family.


I watched that guys car crash a few time. Yikes!


I thought the opening picture was a guy holding a bicycle frame with no wheels and my first thought was literally: it's Japan, this will actually be an interesting article. Probably some new bicycling trend...then I realized it was a camera rig.


LOL, that's all I see now. It's actually Time Square NY


Ah, Time Square. I was too preoccupied with bicycle guy to notice.


“I’ve wrote” ....?


Man I came to watch sick Subarus not to cry because someone's dog died smh


Documentaries are to provoke thought, educate, and feel emotions. Maybe car porn is enough for your satisfaction. We're all different and if that's the biggest take away you got...SMH


I had the great fortune to meet Jan in 2016 at Subiefest and our talks lead to me being included in the film as The Family Man. Jan and Jose are remarkable people and the movie they made tells our stories as Subie owners and examples of the Subie family. I hope my part in the film encourages people to donate platelets or blood and that film encourages people to become part of the Subie family.


Smh you're missing everybody's opinion with your "I'm The Family Man in this movie and I understood the dog's presence in this and donate and share". What are you? Somekind of the media guy protecting the dog, and pushing this in every comment possible? Chill out and let people have their opinion, so far yours is null. I think by your attitude I'm just gonna straight skip the point where "The Family Man" appears in the video, and if you're too much..well, that's though luck.


I just someone defending the film maker and my friend. Skip over my story if you like. I really don't care. So many others like it and your opinion is yours to have. Have a nice life, over and out

David Montgomery

Well, I enjoyed it. But I'm on my fourth Subaru, so I'm biased haha. This documentary isn't so much about Subarus as a car than it is about the community. Subaru goes out of their way to foster and grow that community, which creates the loyalty that so many owners show.


You get it. Thank you.
The Family Man


I like.... This documentary is a meet in itself. I've been watching most of these guys & enthusiasts on different sites... Jimmy Shaw on One Take, Jason on Engineering Explained... etc... Great piece...


Good timing 'coz it's Subaru's 60th anniversary this year


Probably not a coincidence. But happy birthday Subaru!


Finally something like this. I really appreciated.

Should have about others makes though.