Mike and I are thrilled that the mini-documentary of the 2014 Muskoka River X, directed and produced by Muskoka’s Andy Hansen (Pure Muskoka) has been shortlisted for the 2015 Reel Paddling Film Festival World Tour. It’s a true honour to have Andy’s passionate portrayal of the Algonquin Outfitters‘ Muskoka River X marathon paddling race recognized and shared with thousands of paddlers at over 200 venues around the world!
Andy discovered the event in our first year almost by shear coincidence, showing up to film friend, Peter DeMos, compete in the solo SUP category. At 6:30am, he introduced himself and asked if it was okay if he filmed the race for the day. I don’t think he realized the epic nature of his chosen task! Following a race which covers 130km over 24 hours through the backcountry of Muskoka is a heroic undertaking. Andy was seen throughout the day jumping out of the woods to capture great moments all along the route. In that first year, Andy produced an inspired piece of filmmaking, drawing on his experience as a camera operator and videographer. He vowed to come back in 2014 to do it right! Using a drone, several GoPros and a DSLR camera, Andy became a one man filming machine – operating a drone, his tripod mounted camera and several GoPros, frequently all the same time. We assigned MRX alumni, Chris Near, to help Andy navigate the route and get him to all the best locations and attempt to keep up with the astounding pace of the front runners. There were many exciting moments for Andy in his 26 hour solo filming challenge. Quickly setting up the drone, multiple cameras and keeping track of the storage of hundreds of GB of HD video meant maintaining an unwavering attention to detail. One heart thumping moment included, as Andy tells it, a near loss-of-drone emergency triggered when one of the drone’s antenna’s didn’t get installed for a flight over the Muskoka River in a remote location. This had Andy running through the dense bush to get close enough to regain full control. Fortunately, his quick thinking (and quick feet!) resolved the problem in a flash and he was able to land the several thousand dollar aerial drone without damage.
The result of Andy’s astounding effort parallels the super-human achievement of the 2014 MRX competitors who themselves achieved course records in many categories. Glen Dawson and Mike Vincent finished the 130km course in a mind-blowing 13 hours 17 minutes in C2 Tandem canoe category.
Please support Andy in this recognition of his talent to capture the MRX story, by attending the 2015 Reel Paddling Film Festival World Tour when it stops in your home town.