On the shores of Lake Fagnano in Chile’s Tierra del Fuego, there lives only one man. GLP films captured the beauty of “the end of the world” through the perspective of an original pioneer, Don Germán with their film, “The Man at the End of the World.” This compelling travel narrative won first place in the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s “Adventure in Motion” contest last fall.
Find out what inspired these adventure travelers and filmmakers to tell the incredible story of Tierra del Fuego.
What is it about film that appeals to you when it comes to telling stories?
GLP Films: Film or video allows you to tell a story in a compelling and emotional way that engages viewers like no other medium. We’ve seen video consumption grow, especially in the travel industry, since it’s the best way for travelers to experience a destination before they take a trip. For us at GLP Films, film allows us to craft the best stories that appeal to both travelers and travel professionals.
What got you interested in adventure travel and film?
GLP Films: Adventure travel and film make a perfect marriage because the industry needs to communicate the good that tourism can provide for the world, when done right. Sustainable tourism improves livelihoods, protects cultures, and preserves environments and wild places. It’s our job as filmmakers and adventure travelers to educate and inspire through storytelling, so that we can continue to protect these places we love.
What inspired you to tell the story of Tierra del Fuego?
GLP Films: Tierra del Fuego is an enticing location. It takes nearly two days to get there and you can go for days without seeing another soul. As adventure travelers as well as filmmakers, this was alluring to us. In addition to the isolated location, Tierra del Fuego is very much unexplored. We wanted to tell its story because we saw the importance of protecting and preserving places like this. The neighboring tourism hot spot of Torres del Paine, for example, risks being overrun with tour buses and crowds. So we saw a chance to share what makes Tierra del Fuego so special, hoping to inspire others to continue to protect it from mass tourism and major development.
The Man at the End of the World from GLP Films on Vimeo.
How did you meet Don Germán and how did you choose him to narrate the film?
GLP Films: GLP Films first heard about Don Germán through Jorge Rodriguez who works with the travel company, Deep in Patagonia. Jorge and his team were designing new programs when they heard about a man in Tierra del Fuego who had fought development, industry, and construction in the name of preserving the environment. While searching for a campsite on a cold and snowy night, Jorge and his expedition crew stumbled into the friendly embrace of Germán and his wife, Mariela, who were having a cup of tea in their kitchen. Albeit shocked to have company, they were extremely down to earth and accommodating, going as far as to offer Jorge and his team their lodge and helping them fire up their stove. They all talked at length about their common goals of not altering the environment or allowing mass tourism to overrun this private reserve, a place that Germán and Mariela solely preserve and protect. They are true pioneers in bringing the first tourists to this little-visited part of the world and showing them its natural wonders. Don Germán is the one character in Patagonia’s history that is still living it, and was the obvious choice to tell this story.
The film explores the delicate balance of bringing tourism to a sacred land. What made you focus on this message?
GLP Films: The fact that we had the opportunity to showcase a new and exciting travel destination while also positioning it in an authentic way to attract conscious travelers who will travel responsibly and respect its fragility was important to us. We’ve seen issues of overtourism around the world, where a destination becomes so popular that it is essentially loved to death. We wanted to tell the story of a place that still has a chance to develop responsibly, and communicate this delicate balance through example. GLP Films prides itself in telling the best stories of the tourism industry, and part of that means shining a light on tourism challenges and important issues, as well as celebrating responsible tourism initiatives.
What tips do you have for travelers looking to make their own films?
GLP Films: You can’t go wrong with a story-first approach. You’re not going to find the best stories in a “top 10” guidebook or Trip Advisor review. You have to take the time to dive deeper into the local culture, people, and traditions. What are the unique aspects of a destination that make it different from anywhere else on earth? That’s how you find your authentic story.