Every year, the Adventure Travel Trade Association calls on filmmakers and globetrotters to submit a short film to the Adventure in Motion competition. The goal is to inspire viewers to weave more adventure travel into their lives. This year’s winning submission, submitted by EcoCamp Patagonia, breaks barriers amidst the stunning peaks of Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park. Check out the inspiring short film “Adventure is For All,” and read on for a behind-the-scenes interview with director Timothy Dhalleine, who invites viewers to watch his film as “ an invitation to explore without limits.”
How Director Timothy Dhalleine is Inspired by Adventure
How did you get interested in adventure travel and film?
“I started filming short movies with my friends as a teenager, and I always had an interest in storytelling. When I started traveling a lot, in countries like Ecuador, Sri Lanka and Australia, wild places became an addiction. I realized there was something more than beauty in nature and remote places. I wanted to capture the power of transformation in such regions and I started shooting stories. With stories like the place of indigenous communities in tourism in the Amazon jungle or the involvement of poor communities in adventure travel in Sri Lanka, I got the conviction that such stories could inspire people around the world, and adventure filmmaking became a passion.”
What inspired you to tell this particular story?
“I witnessed this story almost by coincidence. When Wheel the World was created and the very day Alvaro started the W Trek with the wheelchair from EcoCamp, I understood the importance of this historical project. I was part of the project of using that Joëlette wheelchair to make Torres del Paine National Park a more inclusive place. I was there with my camera when the first travelers with disabilities used the wheelchair to hike on the mountains. I captured all these stories and I thought they were beautiful, I could feel the emotions of such travelers that never thought they would never be able to explore this part of Patagonia. And I decided I would spread the word to inspire viewers that disability was not a limit to exploring wild places.”
What does winning the Adventure in Motion contest mean to you as a filmmaker?
“Winning such an important contest convinced me that filmmakers do not necessarily need to invest thousands of dollars in buying the most modern technology to make an impact. With a simple DSLR camera, you can effectively share a message. The key is storytelling. The Internet is full of travel videos, but most of them are a demonstration of skills with beautiful images. I think a great adventure travel video is more than that, it must be authentic. This is why people voted for “Adventure is for All,” because its emotions are real. These stories really happened, there is no acting, it is raw. And such emotions are not easy to capture, you must be close to these people, understand what they experience. Winning made me happy for that, and it made me want to shoot more authentic stories, because I am sure they can generate positive impacts with powerful messages.”
What was the process of making this video like?
“I had no idea what “disability” actually meant until I met the people you see on the video. Alvaro, Nicolas, Jake; all of them taught me a lot about how fragile we humans are, but how much we can do to surpass ourselves. I was with them on the trails, and I just felt like I was one more volunteer, one more friend. It took me two years to gather these stories and make one video out of it. I edited it in a couple of days.”
What did you learn from Alvaro Silberstein, the main subject of your film?
“Alvaro is an example of determination. He turned something tragic into something actually positive, and he’s now a happy person, changing people’s lives through Wheel the World. He learnt his condition was not a limit to travel and is now inspiring thousands of people around the world to go out and explore. It also underlines the importance of friendships. I learnt that whatever happens in your life, there is always the option to simply be happy and do great things whenever you find perseverance.”
What makes Torres del Paine National Park so special?
“Torres del Paine is the definition of immensity. That is a place of constant change, with a rough expression of nature. You can enjoy the incredible beauty of the park while feeling very vulnerable. You can experience four seasons in a day and witness how climate change is affecting the landscape. Colors and clouds change every minute, and this atmosphere brings a great sense of humility to travelers. This is definitely a place of transformation.”
The Joëlette hiking wheelchair seems both simple and revolutionary— how did you go about capturing that while filming on steep terrain?
“The Joëlette wheelchair is actually pretty easy to use if you have trained people to do so. However Patagonia is known for its irregular and steep terrain, and that was tough especially on places like the towers’ base or Grey Lake, with very strong windgusts. So instead of focusing on very beautiful images, I focused on what was happening and used a simple stabilizer to follow the volunteers on the trails. For that reason, some of the footage on the video may not be perfectly stable or aesthetic, but it closely follows the action, which I think is more important.”
What advice do you have for travelers looking to make their own films?
“Do not overuse effects or only focus on the beauty of what you are shooting. People need inspiration through storytelling. Listen and look at what’s happening around you, and try to capture in your way what you think can give value to people. This way, you will be able to bring powerful emotions while shooting something real that may have a positive impact for the viewers.”