Photo © Allison Otto

Coleman on assignment in Colombia

2015 Travel Film Scholarship winner Coleman Lowndes travels to the remote Pacific coast of Colombia.

Coleman Lowndes from the USA,
Winner Film Scholarship 2016

Coleman's assignment was to film and edit a short travel documentary about a surf school in the village of El Choco on the Colombian Pacific coast.

The jungle waterways of coastal Colombia

Once there, we boarded a small twin-propeller plane that regularly ferries people back and forth from Medellin to the remote coastal fishing village of Nuquí. The flight was incredible, flying low over the rolling green Andes Mountains and getting birds-eye views of muddy winding rivers and small mountain settlements. When we landed in Nuquí we really knew we weren't in Kansas anymore. There was no phone service, and chickens ran around the small airstrip, ducking in and out behind a relic of a plane that once trafficked drugs out of Colombia. Awaiting us at the airport was Fausto, who would be our guide and host for the next couple of days. He walked us around the village of Nuquí and told us a bit about the area and the community.

A family at their gate

El Cantil & meeting Nestor

When we reached El Cantil, I had a stroke of good luck. I was unsure of how to originally approach my surf club documentary that would be filmed in Termales, a community about a 45-minute walk down the beach from El Cantil. I figured I would walk there the following morning to start looking for interviews and hopefully get to see a class. By chance, the head of the surf club and my eventual key interview for the doc, Nestor, was at El Cantil when we arrived. I met him and we walked along the beach toward Termales, chatting about the surf club and learning that there was indeed a class at 4pm the following day!

Coleman meeting Nestor

Surf Club El Choco

Before class, Nestor and some older members of the club inspected and repaired boards and talked over the lesson plan for the day. Meanwhile, the kids either cleaned the clubhouse, practiced their balance on a tightrope outside, or joined in a big game of beach volleyball. Once class began, the kids hit the beach and were split into groups based on their level of experience. Some of the kids can really rip, even at 9 or 10 years old! We got some killer GoPro POV shots, and I included a screengrab in this post. I also swam out in the water with a GoPro strapped to my head to get some close-ups. The class was still going as the sun was setting and we hopped on a boat back to El Cantil.

Kids learning at the surf club

View the assignment photos

Read Coleman's full blog

Watch Coleman's Film: Del Choco Surf Village

Surf School Del Choco