A documentary travel series presented by Julian Hanton and Camilla Andersen. It unravels unscripted travel plans and all the bizarre encounters made along the way, such as masked Mexican wrestlers, Thai transsexuals, Indian gurus, Jamaican conmen and Peruvian Alien Worshippers. Cheapskate traveller Julian and his laid-back companion Camilla explore the more bizarre aspects of our world, as well as capturing the feel of the traveller network. Interviewing other travellers and getting to the bottom of each country’s sub-culture.
The travel series, which is now being broadcast on Sky TV's Travel Channel was created and produced by four colourful South Seas Film and Television course graduates. Julian Hanton, (director and onscreen traveller) Camilla Andersen, (producer and companion traveller) along with cameraman Tom Fowlie and researcher Ian Hart.
After graduating from South Seas, the four stayed together to form their own production company - Katipo Productions. They decided to leave New Zealand under their own resources and finances with a plan to travel the world and make a 'backpacker' TV series.
"No one was going to pay for four unknown filmmakers to make their own series so we just went ahead and did it ourselves," says Hanton. "We wanted to make a show capturing the real travel experience, for people who aren't interested in tagging along on package tours."
One year later they returned with five hundred hours of footage; having trawled through 11 countries, lost 40 kgs between them, and with an impressive collection of rashes and tropical diseases.
Having total independence allowed the four to ad-lib their filmed journey like real travellers; away from the souvenir stalls and dependent on who they met and how much money they had in their pockets.
The series switches between the fun and light hearted moments travellers treasure; and the insights and experiences that lie beneath a country's façade, which travellers remember. "That's exactly what travel is like - one minute you're wandering a mass grave and the next you're dancing with gay Cuban men drunk on cheap rum," says Camilla.
"We made it our priority to find a story in each country that delved a little deeper into the hardships that face many of these people," says Hanton. These included visiting a Laos village bombed by the US secret war in the 1970s, looking at the AIDS epidemic in South Africa, and an audience with masked rebel group the Zapatistas in Mexico. "We even landed an exclusive interview with Professor Noam Chomsky, who added his perspective to what we had seen," says Hanton.
A year of shared experiences wasn't always smooth sailing for Julian and Camilla; the combination of cheapskate traveller Julian with laidback Camilla made for an at times tumultuous friendship. A screaming match over petty differences in picturesque Cuba was one of the low points, and was all captured on camera.
"We were always together, not just Camilla and I but the other two as well, 24 hours a day for a year," says Julian, "so it was hard not to be yourself on camera, laughing, crying, getting ripped off by locals and lots and lots of vomiting. We made it part of the experience."