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HENNA GAIJIN STUDIO PRESENTS A FILM DIRECTED, PRODUCED, EDITED AND WRITTEN BY ALISTAIR HARDING

WITH MUSIC BY ETSON CAMINHA AND DAVID LEVY FEATURING GRANT RAWLINSON, CHARLIE SMITH,
LUKE RICHMOND, COLIN QUINCEY, SHAUN QUINCEY, 
AND SCOTT DONALDSON IN 'THE SEA DECIDES'.

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TRAILER

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THE STORY
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THE STORY

In the beginning it was one of life's grandest adventures. But by the end it would become a desperate bid to do what only two others in history had ever done.

In January 2017, human-powered adventurer Grant Rawlinson began a journey by row boat and bicycle that he planned would take him 12,000km from Singapore to New Zealand.

 

It was a journey never before attempted and included a world-first attempt at rowing from Singapore to Australia with expedition partner Charlie Smith; a cycle across the Australian continent; and then an attempt to become only the third solo adventurer in history to row across the notoriously dangerous Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand.

 

It was an expedition that had all the hallmarks of a Boy's Own adventure. And in the beginning, as Rawlinson and Smith rowed through the archipelago of Indonesia, it was indeed a classic adventure story – rowing 24 hours a day, dodging ships, stopping at remote fishing villages, battling storms and the brutal tropical heat... the adventures appeared endless.

But as film maker Alistair Harding followed Rawlinson and Smith's world-first row from Singapore to Australia. And then continued to follow Rawlinson's cycle across the great southern continent – all the while the Tasman Sea lay in wait, just over the horizon. And the story of one of nature's most notorious stretches of water began to emerge.

The crossing of the Tasman Sea is known as arguably the rarest adventure on earth simply because of the brutal difficulties it poses and the rarity of success adventurers have had upon it. The history of it is littered with failures – Andrew McAuley's ill-fated 2007 attempt to kayak across it stands out most after he went missing just 56km short of land. And then there's also the disastrous 1998 Sydney to Hobart yacht race in which 5 boats sunk, 7 were abandoned and 6 sailors perished.

Astonishingly, the only two solo adventurers to have crossed the Tasman Sea by row boat, at the time of filming, were the father and son pair of Colin and Shaun Quincey.  Colin, who rowed from New Zealand to Australia in 1977 – and Shaun, who made the return journey, on behalf of his father, from Australia to New Zealand in 2010. And therefore, as Rawlinson arrived at the East Coast of Australia, to look out over the daunting Tasman Sea, the score was Quinceys 2. Rest of the world 0.

What follows is the story of human ambition colliding with the forces of nature. It is Rawlinson's story first. But also the Quincey's stories of extraordinary success and inspiration. And too, the story of Scott Donaldson – the man who during the filming would become the first person to kayak across the Tasman – and who had already come heart-breakingly close on a previous attempt when he was plucked from the sea by helicopter in sight of land.  

But ultimately, it is the story of nature's power. Taking its title from Colin Quincey's own words that willpower will only get you so far and ultimately human-kind has only a small say in its own destiny:

 

"Anyone can attempt to do it. But it's absolutely dependent on the weather and the sea. You can plan everything and look at all the charts and all the weather. But ultimately the sea decides whether they're going to allow you to cross or not".

At times, it is a brutal and unforgiving story that will make you wince and wonder just how far you would go for ambition. At other times it lays bare the extraordinary power of dreams, the value of failure and the importance of inspiration and purpose to the evolution of the human species. 

 

But most of all, it is an awe-inspiring glimpse of nature’s power and a reminder that we humans are never masters of it, but always products of it. 

The making of the film

THE MAKING OF THE FILM

A world first

The adventure of filmmaking

The friendly islands

The music of the film

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"It's not about instant gratification. It's about finding a purpose in life." 

GRANT RAWLINSON
Film subject and Human-powered adventurer
MUSIC
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THE MUSIC OF THE FILM

During the filming of THE SEA DECIDES, while in East Tmor, filmmaker Alistair Harding was lucky enough to meet Etson Caminha – perhaps that country's most loved musician. And it was from there where the theme music of The Sea Decides was born.

Etson's theme music for THE SEA DECIDES, recorded and produced by David Levy, is not only both exceptionally beautiful and haunting, but it also provides an authentic soundtrack for the film, rooted in the region Grant Rawlinson's epic expedition traveled through.

If you're attending one of the festival screenings of THE SEA DECIDES, you'll hear more of Etson's music both before and after the show. And we're hoping to use the opportunity to promote Etson's new album and he and David are currently producing.  

Help Etson's family rebuild their home

Recently, Etson's young family has been displaced due to recent flooding in East Timor. So to help with the reconstruction of his home, his producer (the amazing David Levy) is producing a collector's edition vinyl record release of Etson's latest album which is now on pre-sale, with all proceeds going towards the reconstruction of Etson's home. Please visit www.gofundme.com/Etson to get yourself a collector's edition of the album and help this amazing musician's family get home.

 

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"The hard part of the Tasman is its unpredictability. It can be a very nasty bit of water."

COLIN QUINCEY
First person to row across the Tasman Sea

PRODUCTION PHOTOS