Photo © Alex Williams

Travel Film Scholarship 2018

Meet your winner.

Thank you to our travel documentary filmmakers.

You did more than just film, record and edit; you brought to life the remarkable experiences of your fellow travelers, adventure seekers and nomads.

We felt the shock of a traveler in response to an act of kindness in Nepal, the struggle of an impossible journey out of East Berlin, and the peace found by a New Zealander in her quest for gold. Your passion for great filmmaking shone through it all.

We've seen so much potential in this year's applications and hope you take the skills you've learned from this experience into the future. That being said, this scholarship program has always been about who we think will benefit most from the opportunity and mentorship, and this year is no exception.

Please join us in congratulating our World Nomads 2018 Film Scholarship winner and shortlisted applicants.

In partnership with:

The winner

Congratulations to Marissa Chabria Heilbron (Costa Rica).

"Surrendering To My Roots by Marissa Chabria is an elegantly told story on the theme of acceptance. There is a sense of unhurried directness and honesty from the subject – the filmmaker’s sister – about their journey from their adopted home in Costa Rica to connect with their cultural heritage in India for the first time; a heritage that they had difficulty embracing and accepting. I was struck by several qualities in the film: an open, honest and revealing interview; beautifully paced editing/storytelling – which gave time and space to feel and experience the story; excellent observational filming of the journey and social interactions – which revealed character and made us feel part of the experience, and finally, sensitive and judicious use of music that complemented the story without dominating or narrating its emotional tone.

Marissa’s film, along with her personal essay, demonstrated her skills and dedication to take the next step in her journey to becoming a travel filmmaker. I feel that she will learn a lot from this experience and is ready for the challenges and excitement that await in Tanzania.

Brian Rapsey
2018 Travel Film Scholarship Mentor

Missed out on this opportunity? Be reminded when our next scholarship is live.

The shortlist

Congratulations to the following shortlisted applicants.

Brian's feedback

The quality of this year’s travel film scholarship was the best I’ve seen so far. I was moved and provoked by so many of the films; a few had quite a lasting effect on me, and with some I was unexpectedly moved to tears. Your films were a pleasure to watch and picking just one winner was quite an agonizing task.

Filmmaking is such a multi-dimensional craft – you have to be in parts a writer/storyteller, a cinematographer, a sound recordist, an editor as well as a director, who goes out into the world and engages with people and places to find ways to represent the world and our place within it.

Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who applied for your hard work and also for expanding my world through sharing your stories. I know it’s no small investment in time, effort and passion to put together a short documentary for the scholarship.

Secondly, a huge shout out to the brilliant filmmakers on our judging panel: Jennifer Peedom (Director, Sherpa & Mountain) and Katy Roberts (VICE Australia), as well as the team at World Nomads. It’s a mammoth task to review all films to present me with the best of the best to consider for the scholarship.

There can only be one winner, so I’d like to call out some of the other stories that deeply impressed me: Byron Gould’s Joushiki was a top contender, and I’d never guessed that parts of it were shot on a mobile phone. His story had a thematic unity around kindness that was so insightful; unpacking culturally inherited notions of what is considered common sense versus what is considered kindness. As a result, Joushiki could see the world anew, through his experience of travel. Byron used his accompanying footage in beautifully illustrative and, more importantly, metaphorical ways that heighted the sense of insight, emotional tone and transformation.

I loved Theo Jessel’s film, The Piano Shop, and the amazing travel journey his unassuming protaganist makes to deliver or repair pianos. Dani Drumond’s film Banzo was shot cinematically in a way that made you feel immediately present in the scene. He also developed a rapport with his subjecthat was warm, direct and intimate. I was moved by Jamie Heawood’s film Stan, and had a tear in my eye at the end.

Mentoring the winner of this scholarship is one of the pleasures of my life, and I look forward to working with Marissa in Tanzania later this year. Beyond that, it’s a privilege to play a role in fostering a global community of adventurous compassionate and dedicated travel filmmakers, and I hope each and every one of you continue to tell your stories of the world through film. 

Tim's Avatar
Brian Rapsey,
World Nomads Travel Film Scholarship Mentor

Due to the sheer amount of applications we receive for our scholarships, we do not provide individual feedback. If you would like to improve your filmmaking in time for your next trip, please make sure to sign up for Brian Rapsey’s Travel Documentary Filmmaking Masterclass.

The judging panel