This is our official teaser for “Tom Sawyer on the Danube” the first adventure film from Xpedition.TV.
While we were running our first adventure film competition, a curious little film came in. It was a short hitchhiking venture from Istanbul, home to the UK. Nothing remarkable, I can hear you saying, people hitch all the time. Yet there was something refreshing about it that caught my eye. And maybe the fact that these two trekkers were unremarkable was the whole attraction.
They were me (age 24). They were probably you. They were embarked upon that moment of guileless discovery and wide-eyed faith in the goodness of humans that occurs just after college, when potential of the world seems so limitless. It’s the reason “Before Sunrise” was a good movie. And watching them, the question that occurred to me – why do we ever allow ourselves to lose that openness to life? And do we really have to?
Tom Sawyer on the Danube
Months later, having befriended these young adventurers, an opportunity arose for me to make something out of the 700+ video files its filmmaker Jamie Bowlby-Whiting had amassed in his drop box. By that time, he and Leah had begun a brand new, much more ambitious trek from England to Asia. Without spoiling a thing, I can tell you that little of it worked out according to plan. But that’s kind of the point. That, and the deeper personal odysseys they both went on, traveling and coming to know each other. Falling in love, as people do, when life – like the world around them – seems so open.
The Full Film
Will be released soon. We have some last minute polishing to do and some festivals to see about. But it won’t be long and we think you’ll really enjoy seeing what happens. After all, they are you. They are me. Or they are at least who many of us would be – if we held open that window of possibility, just a little bit longer.
“Some jobs just turn out harder than you expected.” This was the sentiment echoed by all three of our judges, over the weeks we have screened and re-screened these awesome shorts.
Not only were there a ton of great films to choose from – and thank you ALL who participated – but there was huge variety within each category, making choices even harder. Truthfully, they could have all competed under the “Most Inspiring” banner, because they were! And it was humbling to see that much talent unspool.
But, decisions can’t be postponed any longer so….
MOST INSPIRING ADVENTURE SHORT – “SWIM 1000” by Miguel Endara & Dave Cornthwaite.
MOST SURPRISING ADVENTURE SHORT – “SHUNPO” by Steven Briand /Burayan Prods.
Even though there are only 3 categories and 3 prizes to award, some films simply could NOT be left out. So we’ve added some “Special Honors” for films that really distinguished themselves. They don’t win any gear this time, but please check them out. These filmmakers are ones to watch going forward.
The short film competition is being sponsor by GOAL ZERO, a Utah based tech company who makes solar rechargeable power supplies for outdoor adventurers. They’re putting up a state-of-the-art Sherpa 50 for each of three film categories. Thank you, GZ!
If you’re an outdoor sport / adventure filmmaker, this is for you! Just watch this challenge video, subscribe to our youtube channel, and follow submission guidelines here.
Please share, tweet, FB and help us spread the word! So we can create bigger, bolder challenges for more adventurers!
As promised, we begin our look at National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year with Renan Ozturk. I have not met Renan, other than to shake his hand at his movie premiere in Telluride last year, but I am a big fan. Not only does he climb with the best, but his filmmaking skills rock. Haunting, evocative, intensely personal glimpses into the expeditions he and buddies go on.
If you can, take a look at the film he and Jimmy Chin and Conrad Anker made about their Return to Meru (also known as “The Shark’s Fin” for its crazy, bladed ascent into Himalayan mythology). Not only did these guys return after a grueling defeat just short of the summit, but Renan signed up for the return only six months after a near fatal skiing accident that fractured his neck, and left him almost immobilized. So we get two big comebacks in his movie. The team’s. And his. I can’t tell you which was more powerful. Both were huge. And are probably a good part of why Renan was nominated this year.
But to think of Renan as just a mountain climber, even a great one, is to miss the point of his chops as an artist. His awesome ability to translate shooting, climbing, painting into a visceral experience for the rest of us. Life – as Renan – isn’t necessarily heroic. But it’s always engaging.
Not to be overlooked, Renan’s paintings are wildly expressive. Part sherpa, part Van Gogh, awesome filmmaker and (apparently) unstoppable climber. What else could you want in an Adventurer of the Year?