We have put together a short clip to introduce you to Monde Kanyana, one of our main characters. He is a very special human being, that is for certain. Here he is with our producer Ivo, who filmed his whole journey
Editing of our film is a little slow going due to the sheer amount of footage and the careful weaving together of the different stories. It's taken longer than expected, but we are very pleased with the way it is going. Monde's story has enriched the film considerably and we cannot wait to announce a completion date some time next year. But before that can happen, we have to as yet complete the cut, and then it's on into the sound edit. At the same time, our composer and musical director Chris Barnett is starting to coordinate our amazing musical line-up of original compositions and Mongolian bands like Altan Urag and Alash Ensemble, who are working with us on this.
Stand by for further news.
Well, that happened.
1000 kilometers on 30 different horses in 8 days. 12 hours in the saddle every day at a trot or a gallop, filming most of the time. 5 hours of usable footage, 4 kilos of lost body weight, and 1 very happy (and very exhausted) camper. Ivo did collapse after crossing the finish line though and didn't surface for about 18 hours. He stayed with his subject Monde Kanyana most of the time, until he fell seriously ill and had to take an afternoon off.
Ivo had to ride hell for leather for two days on his own to catch up withMonde again. Those two days, staying with nomad families, helping to herd their horses and livestock and live with them, he won't ever forget. On his blog over at 3rd-i.com he said, "it always goes to show, life is at its most memorable when you're way out of your comfort zone. And the hospitality of the people is simply breathtaking. I was still on antibiotics due to what we dubbed Mongol Belly so I felt 'safe' eating unidentifiable lumps of something or other handed to me in the dimly flickering light of the dung burner, washed down with Chenggis vodka and airag (fermented mare's milk – the national drink of Mongolia)".
The race went down without any serious incident for Monde and Ivo — unlike some of the other competitors, who suffered serious injuries, illnesses, lost horses, and early retirenment. Monde and Ivo were careful at chosing horses and managed to stay on even through bucking and bolting, and never lost a horse. They rode through deserts, swamps, mountains, wolf and bear country. They saw foals that had been attacked the night before. The nomads they encountered had never seen a black person before, let alone someone who could ride with the best of them – so they quickly became a travelling attraction, resulting in a lot of group photos. Mongolians are world-reknowned for their horsemanship and judge visitors by the way they can deal with the wild Mongolian steeds. Suffice to say, they were very impressed with Monde, the horse whisperer from rural South Africa.
As his reputation started to precede them, Monde was often asked to look at a particularly unridable horse as the two pulled into a horse station. This was as much a way of testing him as it was out of curiosity to see how the Black Man would do it. At the penultimate station he was asked to see what he could do with a 2-year–old gelding that had never been ridden before, and that wouldn't let anyone ride it. Obviously he took the challenge and half an hour later he sat on the previously bucking and rearing beauty, now though tame as a lamb. This did mean that the two of them dropped two places in the race standing as other competitors passed them during that time.
When the zulu warrior at last barrelled down the final furlong I had a hard time keeping the camera steady, moved to tears and elation as I was. This race takes it out on you to be sure, and a lot of elemental emotions come boiling up and often catch you off-guard. Monde didn't win the race, but he did win the prize for best horsemanship, an accolade that was created especially for him.
So now it's back to the edit, to weave together all the storylines for our epic adventure film. Sit tight.
Having gone through a few months of post-production on our film, we realized we are still missing a story. So this year, this crucial story materialized.
Monde Kanyana (left in blue) from Kwazulu Natal in South Africa doesn't live a privileged life. In the small South African village where he grew up, he could not afford to attend school much. Instead he helped at home. He also helped a local farmer. This is where, as a boy, he fell in love with horses. And horses fell in love with him, and his incredible sixth sense for them. He became known in the wider region for his amazing talent. So this year, his whole community of towns people and horse owners clubbed together and paid for this trip of a lifetime. They are sending him to Mongolia to take part in the Mongol Derby, the longest horse race in the world. He has never been outside the country, or on a plane, let alone stayed in a hotel.
Our producer Ivo will ride the whole race with him and document his progress. It will be an interesting experience at the very least. Stand by for a report when he gets back towards the end of August.
Greetings from the Cannes Film Festival where were are currently promoting our film. Post-production has been lengthier than anticipated but we are in good shape to complete a little later this year.
An here an artist's impression for what we'd really like to see...
If you're wasting your time on twitter, you might as well use the proper tag.....
That's a little long, isn't it? Oh dear.
It isn't super slick, it's only a fundraiser. Stand by for the much slicker sales trailer coming very soon.