Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Adventurists Film Festival

A triffic time had by all at the Adventurists Film Festival today. By extending a personal trip to London by a couple of days, the chance to take in the hilarity and real art of expedition film making was unmissable. All the films were riveting in their own way and the judges had clearly done their homework. One particular standout in the Public category (i.e. not from an Adventurists adventure) was, Across Europe in a Paper Boat, directed by Julius Markevicius from Lithuania. Using 6mm plywood, Julius and a couple of friends built a small boat in their apartment and glued it together using epoxy and fiberglass. Surprisingly seaworthy, they powered her with a four horse outboard and proceeded to navigate her, almost non-stop, from Belarus to Rotterdam via the lakes, rivers, and canals of Europe. Julius’ commentary was dead-pan hilarious. You can see the all the films at The Adventurists Film Festival web site. 
Ed Stafford, the bloke that walked the entire length of the Amazon in two and half years, provided us insight into what it takes to meet a modern challenge including determination and a good partner. His partner, Cho, joined him at a particularly dangerous point as Ed made his way through indigenous Peru, then stayed with him until they reached the Atlantic ocean. 
In addition, there were a couple of educational sessions centered around making your own documentary. Perhaps the two most useful pieces of advice were 1) ensure that you get good sound and 2) communicate with your audience. From a technical standpoint, winners used everything from $100 Flip video cameras to sophisticated digital SLR’s. It appears the success of a movie like this lies as much in the editing as anything else. 
With so many Adventurists on hand, there was expert advice available. Turns out that not only is the Nissan Micra the most popular car for starting the rally, it’s also the one that crosses the finish line more than any other - largely due to their popularity in Eastern Asia and the availability of spare parts. The roads in Kazakhstan are vastly variable, the ones in Russia generally predictable. We shouldn’t miss the Altai region or attempt the northern route across Mongolia if we want a prayer of doing this in less than eight weeks. Topped off with Hendrick’s Gin and a set of three official car stickers it was a splendid day.

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