“Solo” (aka Solitary Endeavour on the Southern Ocean (UK)) (Directors: David Michôd /Jennifer Peedom)
Documentary on the tragic quest by Andrew McAuley to kayak solo from Australia to New Zealand.
Synopsis from IMDbPro:
“On January 11, 2007, Andrew McAuley set out on his quest to become the first person to kayak from Australia to New Zealand to cross 1600 km of one of the most dangerous oceans on Earth – the Southern Ocean stretch of the Tasman Sea. After a month at sea, Andrew had successfully endured all the difficulties and a three-day Category 9 storm. On February 9, New Zealand maritime authorities received his distress call but they could not save his life.
Solo is a stirring psychological portrait of McAuley’s unshakable need to claim a first and to conquer the unknown – a need that would ultimately cost him his life.”
Release details: Premiered September 2008 on National Geographic Channel.
Sheffield International Documentary Festival, November 2008
International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), Nov 2008
International Film Festival of India (IFFI)
Adelaide International Film Festival
St. Tropez-based Festival des Antipodes
Mountain Film, Telluride USA
Banff Mountain Film Festival: Won – Best Film
Festival du Film Voyage & Adventure, Montreal Canada: Won – Grand Prix
Australian Screen Directors Guild Awards: Won – Best Direction in a documentary
Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival: Won – Best Film
Prague International Film Festival: Won – Grand Prix
Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival: Won – Grand Jury Prize
Australian Film Institute: Won – Best Documentary Under One Hour
Hory a Mesto Festival in Slovakia: Won – Grand Prize
The 7.30 Report screened an interview with David in April 2009. Below is an excerpt from the transcript:
“DAVID MICHOD, DIRECTOR: I mean, there was kind of seemingly nothing to gain other than being able to say that I was the first person to do this thing.
KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: But he was driven to understand what motivated Andrew McAuley after seeing just one piece of footage.
ANDREW MCAULEY, ADVENTURER: I’m really worried I’m not going to see my wife again, and my little boy. And I’m very scared.
DAVID MICHOD: That footage was so compelling. Just so powerful. I came into this thing just wanting to know what might lead someone to attempt something that would have such a powerful and emotional effect on him.
KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: David Michod said co directing the film changed his perspective.
DAVID MICHOD: What I started to see really quickly was that the Andrew who existed on land in preparing for his trip or talking about how his first attempt hadn’t worked out, was a very different character to the one out at sea. The one out at sea seemed somehow alive.”
Read full transcript from 7.30 Report here
“What we needed was some real storytelling and dramatic tension,” Peedom says. “I came at it from an adventurer’s perspective. David [Michod], on the other hand, thinks that everyone who does that kind of thing is mad. He has no concept of why you would do that kind of thing [but] he said to me at the end of it: ‘I really understand it now.
“He wanted to get inside this man’s head. One of the observations he made when we were looking at the footage is how much he felt Andrew came to life when he was out at sea. He was one man on land, a different man at sea.”
Reviews from Jen Peedom.com:
“Extraordinarily affecting. Beyond poignant.” – The Guide, Sydney Morning Herald
“An enthralling documentary.” – The Canberra Times
“[4 stars] An achingly moving tale.” – Who Magazine
“More than just a moving documentary.” – TV Guide
“Seamlessly assembled. Beautiful.” – Green Guide, The Age
“A moving and thought-provoking portrait.” – TV Week
“[4 stars] This moving and often heartbreaking documentary is a fitting testament to an extraordinary individual. An excellent, excellent, excellent adventure.” – Sunday Age
“[Feature = 4 stars, Extras = 5 stars] Compelling.” – Rip It Up
“[5 stars] Such a great documentary. The vision from Andrew’s journey is out of this world. Directors David Michod and Jennifer Peedom do an amazing job. Solo will have a lasting effect on you.” – Buzz Magazine
“[Feature = 4 stars, Extras = 3 1/2 stars] Tragic and heartbreaking… Deeply moving… Highly artful and cinematic. An ultimately haunting picture.” – FILMINK
“[5 stars] An astonishing documentary… Unforgettable.” – EMPIRE
Also available to rent at eOne on Demand (YouTube) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0SxN3xW5Gg