Sunday, January 20, 2013

ADVENTURESS WANTED: Tom McAlevey & Yoshiko Kino make a fine DIY documentary

It ain't easy getting your film from the "shot" stage through to distribution. Even when, perhaps especially when that film is DIY in the extreme, shot solely by its two participants, on a for-real road trip that the two take in a bright red beach buggy all the way from Sweden to the tip of South Africa. Not only will one of the two filmmakers make his movie the DIY route, he will also, it seems, have to distribute it this way -- after a deal with some supposedly professional movie people did not pan out.

The guy in question is an American man, then living in Sweden, named Tom McAlevey (shown at right), who loves adventure and hooking up with women and so decided to combine the two into this particular trip -- and then film it all as it was going on. Hence his movie's title, ADVENTURESS WANTED, which was also the headline of the classified ad McAlevey ran, hoping to entice a relatively smart and attractive young woman into joining him. It worked. He had more than enough applicants (we see some of these at the beginning of the film), but decided to go with the woman, Yoshiko Kino, below, whom he knew first (if I got this part right) as his exercise/yoga instructor.

TrustMovies learned about the film from a press release emailed to him, giving him a video link to access in order to watch the film in high-definition. He did -- and now declares the viewing world fortunate indeed to be able to see this unusual diary-cum-movie. The documentary manages to combine so very many genres -- real-life adventure/love story/road trip/psychological profile/relationship manual/wild animal menagerie/and more -- that it proves both sui generis and surprisingly generous to both parties -- the adventuress and adventurer -- involved.

Adventuress Wanted is so utterly fresh, vivid and vital; so funny and even occasionally moving that one can easily understand why it won Best Directorial Debut at the 2010 NY International Film Festival. I've never experienced anything quite like this film. So impressed was I at its conclusion that, although I could have (in fact, had) watched for free, I got out my credit card and made a contribution to Mr. McAlevey's fund. Something this entertaining and unusual deserves a helping hand.

Now, you should perhaps know something more about these two performers/filmmakers. McAlevey's originally a New Yorker, now well into middle age, who lost an arm (see above) in a motorcycle accident in the late 1980s. A trouper, he handles himself and his loss with about as much grace and ease as would seem possible. He is a slight and somewhat scrawny man, as well -- though usually full of energy -- and this, together with the missing arm would, I suspect, make him a fellow that the average person would want to help along his way.

This may account for the fact that Tom tells (and shows) us how incredibly kind and helpful were almost all the Arabs he and Yoshiko met along their journey through Northern Africa and downwards. (The Tunisian garage-owner seems a particular gem of a guy.) In our current age of Muslim-bashing, this registers strongly and healthily, though, on the other hand, no mention is ever made in the movie about the northeastern and neighboring state of Israel.

Ms Kino, on the other hand, is most definitely all there, with a softig little body and lots of spirit to go with it. She offers an alternately good/bad foil for McAlevey (and he for her) and the pair makes no bones about its sexual encounters along the way and its bonding (and sometimes ripping apart) as the trip continues. As the prime filmmaker, McAlevey appears to be shooting straight and playing as fair as possible under sometimes trying circumstances. Conse-quently, we come away from the film with very good feelings toward both of the participants.

With Tom and Yoshiko doubling as their only crew for visuals and sound, the result here is surprisingly rich and -- with the wild animal footage -- exciting and real. Along the way, we travel through Italy and then over to Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and finally South Africa, with each country offering its own oddities, problems and help. There must have been a truckload of visuals to deal with, but the film has been edited down to a fast 85 minutes, thanks to the work of lead editor Jean Frédéric Axelsson and co-editor McAlevey.

By the end, we learn what has happened to Yoshiko and Tom, and if you stay through the bitter end, you'll see what a player this guy is. But I think you'll love him anyway -- and his film.  To watch Adventuress Wanted, simply click here, then click on Download Now toward the upper right hand column of your screen. Then scroll down and click on either of the green buttons that say Download the movie for PC or Download the movie for MAC.

And if you find the film even halfway as good as I did, I suspect you'll want to contribute something toward its continued success.

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