Take a peek at some of the fantastic films on offer at this year’s festival!
Two mates go out to the Amazon, fell a massive tree, make a dugout canoe and set off downstream.
In this age of obfuscating politicians and alternate facts, it’s great to have a film title that leaves little to the imagination!
These guys are what this festival lives and breathes; free spirits with a true thirst for adventure; original, inventive and creative in equal measure.
Compliments? You bet. Ben and James are the future: kind, interested, grass roots and genuinely funny. They should have their own series and when they do, we shall raise a glass and toast them!
2016 • Ben Sadd • Video • 55 mins
Fastest bicycle ride from the tip of Norway to Cape Town.
British Iranian basketball legend and financial wizard Reza Pakravan let go of his high-powered city job to start a new career in adventure and cycle (at enormous speed) from Norway to South Africa. This is a delightfully whizz-bang telling of that adventure!
2013 • Reza Pakravan • Video • 21 mins
Two buddies tackle the longest river in Angola in fold-up vintage 1960s kit canoes.
Alfy and Oscar should get a prize just for speed of turnaround! They canoed the length of a not oft-paddled African river in June 2016 and by December had submitted an hour long doco to this festival. Rushed and crappy? No way amigos.
This film is understated and charming in equal measure. It oozes DIY zeal and is exactly what we love at the ATFF. Not only that, the section where they are arrested by police who cannot cope with the fact that there is no such thing as a ‘canoeing permit’, was impossible to film. However, instead of just leaving it out, they re-imagined it as an animated sequence and kept the narrative afloat!
Rock on daddy-O! Angola is in no way an easy place to adventure but these guys relish that all the more. Add to that, they raised £18,000 for H.A.L.O, the landmine clearing charity. Boom!
2016 • Carl Treeby • Video • 52 mins
Life aboard an old steamer that still ferries people and goods up and down the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
It is a great pleasure to showcase Julie Clavier’s multi award-winning documentary. The star of the film is an old boat called The Liemba.
It is now over 100 years old but still chugs up and down the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. In 1913 it was built in Papenburg just west of Bremen and was then disassembled and shipped, in kit form, to Dar Es Salaam, in what was then German East Africa. The pieces made their way by rail to the lake and the boat was reassembled.
This film is in the same class as Fred Wiseman’s early work (google him) as it takes us on board this creaking ferry which becomes a metaphor for Africa itself. The long-distance traveller is sometimes criticised for ‘just passing through’ but this film will have you on board the Liemba full time, and you’ll be there for the whole voyage!
2016 • Julie Clavier • Video • 56 mins
A four-woman team spends nine months rowing across the Pacific from San Francisco to Australia, and smashes it.
Rather unusually, this ‘best in show’ is not going to be unique to this festival. Why? Because this project, film and epic achievement will resonate down through history for decades to come, totally eclipsing this festival.
Rarely do we get a submission to the festival that is so resolutely DIY yet so colossal in scale. We have two balls in the air here and we must keep our eyes on both. Firstly, this is a truly astonishing venture and its execution will be the stuﬀ of adventure lore years from now. Secondly, and totally separate from that, this is a staggeringly perfect film. Not just a great adventure travel doc, but an exceptional work of art and storytelling that can hold its own in any film festival or TV channel.
Blessed are we that can enjoy this mind-blowing movie in Guildford!
2016 • Sarah Moshman • Video • 92 mins
A Swedish explorer spends 60 days pushing his 2 year-old daughter 400 miles across England in an attempt to understand those that fill that green and pleasant land.
Mikael Strandberg is very possibly the most respected and experienced explorer that we have ever had associated with this festival. We thrive on the lo-fi goonery of gifted amateurs but Strandberg is A-list, the real deal. In his fifties, he has made documentaries and expeditioned to some of the wildest places on earth. Yemen, Siberia, Patagonia, Darien Gap etc. However, nothing could have prepared him for the total immersion required for this experience. He had been keen to get ‘under the skin’ of the English but his project was hobbled by not being able to afford the childcare for Dana, his little girl! So, he realised he would have to take her with him. What emerges is one of the most remarkable documentaries this festival will ever witness. Strandberg resolutely shoots unprepared and spontaneously. If a celeb did this trip a young intern would be feverishly setting up local ‘characters’ for our hero to ‘encounter’. Not so for this man. A stunning document that is like secretly reading a school report about yourself, before it gets mailed to your parents, but you didn’t score very well….
2014 • Mikael Strandberg • Video • 58 mins
A canoe film with a strong environmental message: Protect the wilderness!
This film has been four years in the making. A really substantial project that sees a load of kayak-mad buddies on a 1000-mile paddle far up in the north of Alaska and the Yukon. You know you’re in for a treat when the project’s website sports a tab proudly labelled: Join The Fight! The team is lead by Quebecois eco-warrior Gabriel Rivest. He loves the great outdoors but is far-sighted enough to realise that if industry and oil-drilling are allowed to prevail, the earth’s few remaining truly pristine wildernesses simply won’t make it. These guys aren’t just canoeing, they’re campaigning. This film is staggeringly good and could easily have been ‘best in show’. Oh yeah, they take their dogs with them too!
2015 • Simon Higgins • Video • 54 mins
A married couple spend seven months rowing and cycling from John O’Groats to Syria.
Colin and Julie Angus are adventure travel royalty. They are dedicated to promoting education through adventure and are possibly two of the most impressive Canadians alive today. Colin’s 2001 collaboration with Tim Cope, The Yenisey River Expedition, is still in the top five adventure travel films of all time. On Rowed Trip Colin and Julie cannot paddle their entire route because of land interruptions. No support vehicle for them! Instead, their home-made canoes have a secret compartment built into them, each of which contains a folding bicycle and trailer. When the water runs out, these heroes perform a quick ‘switcheroo’ and pedal away, towing their canoes behind them. This is a sight to behold and any fans of the Brompton bicycle will simply pass out during this screening! More presciently, the couple reach a peaceful Syria, as yet unravaged by violence. This film is incredibly special in these troubled times. Don’t miss it!
2008 • Colin Angus • Video • 57 mins
Three French buddies pedal their revolutionary wooden phat bikes across the peaks and plains of Central Asia.
Two years ago the London festival shuddered and quaked with the ripples that emanated from the film Solidream. That was the stupefyingly perfect doco that told of four buddies who cycled around the world and made what may be called, in years to come, the best long-distance cycling film of all time. We thought they would by now, be spent, but no!
These indefatigable Frenchmen have proved that they have plenty more powder in their magazine and they bring us a new adventure from the nexus of the Silk Road. This film is one of several this year (Dug out, Paddle to the North) that have an adventure skin underlain by an eco-heart. The lads pedal furiously and give us an example of a type of adventure travel film that ten years ago
simply did not exist. A masterpiece of art, compassion and environmental awareness, Ladies & Gentleman, Solidream in the Pamir mountains.
2016 • Brian Mathé • Video • 53 mins
A city-slicker townie from Ontario gets hopelessly out of his depth as he tackles one of Canada’s most testing hiking routes.
Bruce Persaud is not your average lumberjack Canuk. Totally happy sipping a skinny latte de-caff in a pair of calf-skin moccasins he has never slept outdoors and is more likely to go to the moon than the great outdoors. He is challenged to take on the Fundy footpath and is quickly surrounded by a helpful team of guides, outdoorsmen and forest rangers. This trail is relatively new and not heavily hiked so many sections are incredibly wild and barely an inch of it is actually horizontal. Getting Bruce through to the other end of the trail becomes the trailsmen’s sole objective in a shepherding exercise that becomes a New Brunswick version of mercenary rescue flik The Wild Geese. Spoiler legislation means we simply cannot tell you how this works out but this film is a joy!
2016 • Craig Norris • Video • 41 mins
Extreme canoeing from the heart of Kyrgyzstan mountains.
Latvian extreme canoe legend, Tomass Marnics, assembles a crack squad. They tackle hundreds of miles of one of the most dangerous sections of white water in the world in the peaks of Kyrgyzstan. His crew are expert but are not ready for being cut off from the outside world for days. Their canoes are groaning under the weight of food and camping gear. Consequently, their sport kayaks lose all of their nimble qualities just when the team need them most!
2016 • Olaf Obsommer • Video • 31 mins
Crashing through the jungles of South America come three joke cars and an equally useless communist-era motorbike.
Dan Priban is The Czech Republic’s leading adventure goon, and we love him. He is an old friend to this festival as the man behind his epic Trabants to Cape Town film of a few years ago at the London Festival.
This time, the team posts their 600cc fibreglass cars to Georgetown in Guyana and is rewarded with a two-week wrestle with customs oﬃcials. The port authorities make no secret of the fact that they have no procedure for dealing with Europeans who want to bring in their own vehicles for holiday fun, rather than formal import.
Eventually they break out of the bonded warehouse and the feeble-engined convoy is on its way south. They hit all the sights and sounds that South America has to oﬀer and naturally, seem to be only ever in between breakdowns.
In a world where bling and gadgetry spiral out of control there was bound to be a reaction. These Trabanteers are the feisty punk rock kick in the groin to the traction control sanitation of the modern 4×4 stadium-rock bloatfest.
2016 • Olaf Obsommer • Video • 31 mins
Fascinating walk through the Sinai desert.
Long distance walking legend Leon McCarron strides into the Sinai on a 200 mile journey into one of the most dramatic desert landscapes in the world. His guide is the extraordinary Musallem Faraj who teaches Leon that the desert is bursting with natural treasure in abundance.
2008 • Colin Angus • Video • 57 mins
“What could go wrong?”
Attempting something that had never been attempted before. The first journey, under purely human power, from Australia’s lowest point, Kati Thanda – Lake Eyre (-15.2m), to the continent’s summit, Mount Kosciuszko (2228m). Cycling over rough terrain, through deserts and up mountains for a distance of 2152 kilometres would be a hard enough for anyone. However, what made it more challenging for this team was the fact that it’s five members had significant disabilities. Walter Van Praag has cystic fibrosis and only thirty-eight percent lung function, Duncan Meerding is legally blind, Daniel Kojta has paraplegia and so pedals with his hands, Conrad Wansborough lives with chronic pain after a spinal injury and I have hemiplegia with associated sensory processing issues.
The Team L-R: Conrad Wainsborough, Dan Kojta, Nati the Dog, Ed Homan, Duncan Meerding, Paul Pritchard, Walter Van Praag.
Travelling the world at just 80 knots
Adventurer of the Year, Michael Smith discovered the delights and perils of true adventure in a solo circumnavigation in his tiny amphibious flying boat, Southern Sun, that retraced historical Qantas, Imperial and Pan Am airmail routes, in search of the glory days of 1930’s aviation. At a leisurely 80 knots, taking his time flying from cities to forests; deserts and rivers; over mountains and volcanoes; coral reefs, vast stretches of oceans, ice flows and glaciers; oh, and giant rats. Michael’s journey captured the geographic splendour of the world and learnt a little of human kind and himself along the way. Directed by Rob Murphy, featuring stunning footage, tales from around the world and insight into the high’s and low’s from a record breaking and award winning voyage.
Totally unbelievable. Around the world by land and sea in a WW2 amphibious Jeep, and the reason we’re based in Guildford!
Ben Carlin first encountered the ford GPA amphibious Jeep whilst in the army during WW2. A seed was planted and in the late 40’s he picked one up and set about modifying it so that despite being designed for calm water, he could take one onto the open sea.
In July 1950 and newly wed, he and his wife Elinore set oﬀ from Halifax, Canada and 31 days later arrived in the Azores. The jeep carried all their provisions and whilst crossing the Atlantic they were completely alone, navigating by the stars.
The jeep towed a specially designed bowser that floated, even with 7000 gallons of petrol in it! Onwards to North Africa and then overland across Europe, Turkey, The Middle East and India. Eventually, via South East Asia the Jeep made it to Japan.
Back into the northern Pacific and a sequence of island hopping (including an unplanned landfall on the USSR’s Siberian coastline!) along the Aleutians they eventually made it to Alaska.
Back down the Alcan highway and after trundling into Halifax they had completed what the Guinness book of records agrees was the first circumnavigation of the globe by amphibious vehicle. If they hadn’t filmed it why would anyone believe that this actually happened!
Festival goers will be able to view “Half Safe” which is now housed at Guilford Grammar School where Ben had been a student. When you see “Half Safe” up close, the enormity of Ben Carlin’s journey becomes clear, followed by the thought of why does no one know about this and why doesn’t someone make a movie.
1951 and 1964 • Ben Carlin • colour 16mm • 49 mins
Real life Tarzan and Jane style anthropology in deepest South America.
Aloha Wanderwell was born in Canada in 1906, and at an early age became an American internationalist, explorer, author, filmmaker and aviatrix. While still a teenager, she joined an expedition to travel across the world by Ford 1918 Model T. Aloha began her adventuring career when she met her traveling companion, Walter “Cap” Wanderwell, in 1922. They married in 1925 and had two children as they continued to travel the world, recording their journeys on 35mm nitrate and 16mm film. While stranded in Brazil, she lived among the Bororo people and recorded the earliest film documentation of them for six weeks. This was a bonus since the Wanderwells were searching for lost explorer Captain Percy Fawcett. It is this film that we proudly showcase here.
In 1932, her husband was murdered on his yacht Carma in Long Beach, California. Aloha later married Walter Baker and continued her travels, ultimately visiting over 80 countries and six continents, and driving over 500,000 miles.
1934 • Aloha Wanderwell • B/W 35mm • 20 mins
Haunting visit to an empty shell.
2016 • Chris Fleet • 3 mins
Delightful view of Iceland through the eyes of a solo Brit biker.
2016 • Noel Thom • 4 mins
Stunningly realised solo cycle ride through South America.
2016 • Brendon Tyree • 21 mins
Sea kayak joy in the Med.
2016 • Erin Bastian • 22 mins
A call to arms for DIY adventure fun.
2016 • Austin Vince • 3 mins
Perfect class A uncut adventure travel in NY state.
2016 • Jeff Seal • 5 mins
US couple sell up and become modern itinerants in a van.
2015 • James Campbell • 3 mins
2016 • Dave Cornthwaite • 7 mins
Sumptuous trip along the border of Pakistan and Iran.
2014 • Ebrahim Mirmalek • 5 mins
Up and over the Peruvian Andes by bicycle.
2016 • Tom Connell • 3 mins
Yup, it really says that.
2016 • Ed Pratt • 13 mins
6000 miles in a Russian sidecar on a Super 8.
2016 • Austin Vince • 20 mins
Tom Allen’s incredible footpath project.
2016 • Directed by Dave Katz • 6 mins