Yesterday marked the first ever Nomading Film Festival, taking place at Hostelling International on the Upper West Side. It’s been just over six months since my last major adventure, which involved a pretty enlightening trip throughout Egypt, and I had a feeling that watching films of people traveling would inspire me to start making films myself. While I was certainly inspired, I couldn’t help feeling a twinge of jealousy for the finalists were went all over the world.

While all the films were engaging, there were a few that really stood out to me. The first film, An Indian Short: Getting a Haircut took a simple activity like getting your hair cut and made it into an entertaining yet educational film about culture in India. As Brock’s hair was cut, his facial expressions became more and more hilarious. Sustaining the Human Connection: Togetherness had a clear message about treating people with respect and putting differences aside to exist in peace.

Perhaps my favorite was The Road to Machu Picchu, mainly because I completely related to Mike’s 3:45am alarm going off. I remember waking up that early to get in line for my ticket to climb Wayna Picchu. Elephant Birth was a silent film quickly captured the attention of the audience as it showed a baby elephant trying to stand up after just being born. The baby’s legs looked like jello as he fell over time and time again.

In between the two showings, there was a live performance from some African drummers and dancers. Luckily I had a front row seat to see everything up close. Robert Reid of Lonely Planet then gave a brief yet motivational speech about the importance of video in today’s world and emphasized that no matter where you travel, it is the people you end up remembering. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Here’s the list of Finalists:

  1. An Indian Short: Getting a Haircut – Brock Groombridge: An unforgettable haircut experience
  2. Sustaining the Human Connection: Togetherness – Toly Mullinkosson: A film that looks at what makes us human
  3. Inside/Out – Josh Johnson: Argentina in Reverse
  4. Duzer Down – Ryan Van Duzer: A bike ride from Vancouver to Cabo
  5. Elephant Birth – Nathan Kaufman: A life begins
  6. The Road to Machu Picchu – Mike Corey: The Trek to the lost Incan City
  7. Andy Dennis – Matt Cascella: A character study
  8. Travel Yourself Does Iceland – Caitlin O’Neil: An experience of all things Iceland
  9. March of the Tiger – Greg Raposa: 30 days in China
  10. Inked for Safety: Sak Yant – Chris Staudinger: A traditional Thai experience
  11. EuroBlast -: Europe in an Instant

And the awards go to…

  • The winner of the Intrepid trip to India: EuroBlast – Donny Bajohr
  • Trip I wish I was on – Mike Corey – Machu Picchu
  • Trip I wish I wasn’t on – Matt Cascella – Andy Dennis
  • Most Enlightening Trip – Nathan Kaufman – Elephant Birth
  • Nomad I want to travel with – Ryan Van Duzer (Duzer Down)

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