Tired of the usual action-sports porn, young gun kayaking studs and directors, Rush Sturges and Tyler Bradt founded a new kind of production company that would create adventure films that actually make a difference in the world. Their company, Rev Inn (rev-inn.com), recently released The Africa Revolutions Tour, a documentary of their extreme kayaking across the biggest, baddest water on the continent. Every cent the film generates is being donated to the Sun Catchers Project, a nonprofit that installs solar cooking facilities in African orphanages, hospitals and communities. Now that the film is showing, the paddlers/filmmakers are looking to collaborate with more NGOs for their next project. Bradt took the time to talk to us about the film.
What was your inspiration behind creating the film?
The Africa Revolutions Tour is a project built on years of filmmaking and exploration. The inspiration behind the film was to create an expedition to explore some of the most remote whitewater on the planet, while at the same time making a contribution to humanitarian and environmental efforts in Africa. The goal is to create a new genre of action sports film that will couple all the adventure and excitement of extreme sport with cause-driven initiatives. The outcome will raise awareness, educate viewers and generate support for the specific causes.
What were some of the challenges you faced while filming?
The challenges were vast. We had various logistical challenges accessing areas to film, cameras were stolen, there were wildlife and rebel group safety threats along the Murchison section of the White Nile…. We ran into budget restraints, equipment issues, weather and just about every other type of problem you could expect trying to film a four-month expedition throughout Africa. Luckily, we had a great, experienced crew who remained optimistic and took all the issues in stride.
What is your favorite section of the film—either in the creation or in how it turned out on the screen?
The entire film is amazing but the high-water Zambezi section stands out for me. We attempted to run the Zambezi at record high flows. The experience of running the river was incredibly intense on its own and, at the same time, we were filming it on the brink of a storm with a helicopter. The ominous weather, helicopter and some of the biggest water ever paddled combined to create one of the most intense experiences of the trip. Creatively the segment came together like a dream. The original sound track created for the film captures the segment perfectly setting the mood. The music combined with amazing footage from the helicopter makes this segment a highlight of the film.
Do you feel you reached the goals you set out to achieve with the film?
Yes. Creatively, the film blew away even our highest expectations. Our goal now is to get it in front of as many people as possible. The more people that see this film the greater our success.
For someone just starting out in filmmaking, what equipment would you recommend?
Knowing your equipment is just as important as having it. I would recommend purchasing equipment applicable to the style of film you are making and getting to know the equipment you are working with. Aside from the camera, a tripod should be one of your first investments.
Catch The African Revolutions Tour at the 5Point Film Festival in Carbondale, Colorado, May 7–10 (www.5pointfilm.com).