Back from an amazing journey !
Back from Bolivia for just over three weeks now, the time has come to summarise a little the expedition we just lived for nearly a month, in the Amazon jungle of the National Park Noel Kempff Mercado.
First and foremost, we want to reassure you; despite a few kilograms left in the forest and a little souvenir we brought back (a parasitic disease called Giardia, more commonly known as «beaver fever,» which infest the gastrointestinal tract) the whole team is doing well.
We’re now entering the third phase (called post-production) of the documentary and really look forward to start sorting around 70 hours of footage that we shot, sometimes, in extreme conditions. We look forward to being able to share our adventure and try not to make you languish beyond reason. That said, and given the complexity of the task before us, we prefer to wait a little bit before announcing the official release date... Simply stay reassured that we will make sure to supply you with enough content to make you wait during the next months to come. So please make sure you keep checking out our dedicated pages frequently, to miss none of the juicy news we share regularly.
To talk a little more in detail about the expedition, we wish to inform you that one of the major objectives of our project has been achieved. Indeed, thanks to your support and that of our technical partners, we have succeeded in capturing many images of a huge park which is mostly unexplored... and have probably cracked a secret or two. We have also documented all of our progress and it is through our discoveries, our joys, our sorrows and even our disappointments that you will discover this fascinating world.
All in all, and if we look back a few months, being able to say all of this is already an achievement that fills us with pride and makes us feel complete, for most parts, as passionate filmmakers.
This being said, we’d like to talk to you in detail about something which, till this day, still feels like unfinished business.
Indeed, our ambitions were particularly high. Especially regarding the creative aspect of our film. But when you’ve been working hard for more than two years to make your dreams happen, it seems appropriate to aim for relatively high standards. Thus, we were particularly demanding about the quality of the images we wanted to bring back from our trip. This required efficiently managed logistics: to free us from certain tasks and allow us to place the most of our energy into our work. Well needless to say that we soon realised that the reality would be very different from what was planned...
Indeed, the filming of this documentary required the help of a local partner. He’d be in charge of logistics planning, transportation, food, among other basic tasks required for the survival of a film crew in a wild environment. Our scouting in this area had led us to trust & mandate Amboro Tours, the largest tour operator in Santa Cruz and ,from what we’ve heard, the only agency capable to take us in the park that fascinates us so much.
In order to seal the contract, to meet with officials and to test our shooting schedule, we planned a trip in May we have called «repérage» or «scouting».
During this trip, the conditions regarding the preparation and logistical support on site were appropriate. This reinforced our belief that Amboro Tours was the best alternative for the Noel Kempff Mercado expedition. But it is important to notice that one should make a difference between a «tourist» tout which is repeatedly tested and proven (and whose formula is always the same for years) versus a tailored (or custom-built) expedition, in difficult conditions, with all the complicated demands that this requires.
We’d barely gotten in the park, and already it became very clear that, unfortunately, Amboro Tours was not the ideal choice for our expedition. Even worse: it is safe to say that their negligence and bad decisions put the film, with all the amount of work done in over two years, in great peril.
Without going into too much detail, for example, we were forced to hire ourselves more carriers to help us move our filming equipment in addition to our camping equipment. While it had been specified beforehand that we needed enough manpower, we found ourselves at the beginning of the adventure, with the only support of a guide and a trail-opener, two people in total, when it should have been a minimum of six carriers in order to consider our successful journey. Needless to say, the people that we hired at the last minute were not qualified and despite all their good will and kindness, we had to push them to regularly carry-on (when we where not convincing them not to abandon us during the middle of the trip). For this reason, we spent a considerable amount of time leading the way with our machetes, carrying our food and even... cooking (among other things!). While we busy on those tasks, we could not shoot footage for the movie, nor could we think and work on the creative directions that we wanted to develop.
This poor logistical planning resulted in a multitude of points that we had to adjust progressively, without means, without alternatives and this has transformed our «contemplative/documentary project» into a real survival experience, during which we constantly struggled to not ... give up!
We also need to mention that lots of our video-gear had to remain at base camp during the entire trip, because we didn’t have enough man-power to carry it. A serious loss in terms of creative options when you (finally) arrive in the heart of the jungle.
Of course, we had to set our ambitions to a little lower squale, mainly in exploring many different environments, due to a lack of time.
It is truly regrettable to note that this could have been a success, both in the shooting of the documentary and logistics Bolivian-Swiss cooperation. But at the end we found it to be a half-failure by the sole fault of unscrupulous people. Or when greed takes over even the safety of the group...
The saddest part is probably the denial and non-compliance from the agency (once we got back to civilisation), preventing us from any sort of discussion regarding a possible arrangement, or maybe even to consider some form of compensation for what happened. We didn’t get even the slightest apology, on the contrary, it was we who were incriminated by the agency, for «daring to complain» about their calamitous services. Such dishonesty is truly horrifying and a true shame the entire profession.
We therefore wish to apologize in advance for not having managed to put your generous contributions to profit in better conditions and feel sorry about not bringing you a film that fully meets our original creative ambitions. Also, we absolutely want to caution you about the very dishonest methods of the Amboro Tours agency in Santa Cruz and recommend you to avoid their services for your own safety. It was agreed with the team that we will withdraw their name of all our communications, the film and any derivatives. Such people do not deserve any publicity. At most, our indifference.
In conclusion, we’d like to reassure you after all. This adventure has been truly amazing and each of us has lived a truly unique expedition. We found ourselves alone, facing the immensity of nature and this is something we could never have lived without your support and many many encouragements. Thank you so much to everyone.
All-in-all, we are convinced that we still capture some great images, strong emotions and a unique human adventure. All this material that will allow us to make a documentary that will take you on a crazy ride, and who knows, perhaps even have you dreaming a little...
We warmly invite you to continue to follow us through our different pages, whether on wemakeit.ch, faceboook or our website to continue to discover the adventure «Objectif Sauvage».