Tomorrow, I'm flying to Canada to attend Banff Mountain Film Festival, where my desert movie is in competition this year. I freely admit to being ridiculously excited about this - Banff is the biggest and best-known adventure film festival in the world, and part of me still thinks that events like that are just for REAL filmmakers (you know, people who make REAL films.) There will be so many talented people in attendance at the festival, both presenting and in the audience, and it's a heck of an honour to be invited along to show Into The Empty Quarter.
While I'm very proud (and I guess that's part of the reason for writing about it here) I'd also like this to be a source of encouragement. Our film shows you need not be intimidated by a lack of money, time, skill or aptitude for taking on a large creative project. It's fair to say Alastair and I were not over-endowed with any of those! What we did have was a good idea and a real desire to see it through, and those things, coupled with a keenness to learn our craft, put us in the best possible position to create something we were happy with. Those are all elements that most people can muster up. We then teamed up with a talented production company and with a bit of luck ended up with the film we have today.
Without wanting to be too trite about all this - there are no guarantees for success or shortcuts to greatness. With creative projects, the best we can do is put all our energies into something we are passionate about, and try and make good decisions about how we spend our time and with whom we collaborate. There will always be elements outside of our control, but if we just control the bits that we can do, and do them well, then we're in good shape. So if you want to make a film - go make a film. Don't worry if you haven't been to film school. Learn as you go, read widely, and seek help from those around you. Similarly, to write a book, just start typing. The skills will develop, and if have a natural flair for it you'll soon begin to flourish. You never know where you might end up.
One of the best things about attending a festival like Banff is being surrounded by so many people doing cool things. I've still got so much to learn when it comes to adventure filmmaking, and there's no better place to do it than at an event like this. If you're short on inspiration, check out the local festivals in your area and try and catch one next time it comes through.
I'll be back in a week - perhaps see some of you in Banff. I'll be splitting my time between the cinema screen, the hills and the hot tubs - see you there!