Q and A

What was the inspiration behind this documentary? And/or how did it come about?

The documentary series was inspired by a book on David Pescud and his journey, Life Without Limits, by Helen O’Neill.

What do you like about making documentaries?

It gives me an extraordinary inroad into people’s lives and has led me to places and situations that I imagine no other job could.

Did you encounter any challenges in making this documentary and, if so, how did you overcome them?  

One of the biggest challenges was learning to be safe on a racing yacht and get the shots at the same time. Shooting on a yacht at 45 degrees, bouncing over waves, seasickness and salt water were all serious challenges in the production of this documentary. The other challenge was creating trust and a good relationship with the crew members. To be accepted on a boat is probably the key to making a film like this. The crew on the boat are what made this shoot possible and it took a lot of favours both on and off the water to make the show what it is.    

How does the documentary relate to your past work, if at all? Was this film a natural next step or a radical departure from your previous work in film, TV etc?

This film was similar in that it involved filming in extremely challenging conditions. In the past I have worked on several films shooting on rescue helicopters, commercial fishing boats and all sorts of expeditions, but this was my first experience with a racing yacht.

In many ways the environmental conditions faced here were very similar, but the human elements to this story created some of the most compelling situations I have ever come across. The crew of this yacht, “Sailors with Disabilities,” are a truly extraordinary bunch of people.

Any other production anecdotes/stories?

Interestingly enough we managed to get through three months of racing trials, storm sails and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht race without damaging any expensive equipment but a simple interview with David Pescud in a dingy on port hacking after the big race turned to disaster when he managed to roll the boat in the middle of an interview. I believe his last words just before we tipped were “my life began to go downhill when....”

What messages would you like the audience to take away with them from your documentary?

I hope any disabled people who watch the film will be inspired by these guys to step outside their comfort zone, even if that just means heading down road to buy a loaf of bread. As for the greater public I think the aim is clear; the characters in this film have, in my opinion found uncommon wisdom through the challenges they have faced. They have pushed themselves in life to open the door to a great deal of inner strength. They take us on an inspiring journey and I think they clearly prove that we all have hidden potential that deserves to be better utilised. I hope people will also have another look at the place disabled people occupy in society, as this series clearly demonstrates the ability and therefore potential of disabled people.

Did you learn anything through making this documentary, about either yourself or your subjects?

It crystalised a few  things I thought I understood; giving is a beautiful and selfish act in so much as the rewards for the people giving far out way the costs; and… when it  gets rough, pull your eye out of the camera every now and then or you will be sick.  

What is your next project or what are you working on now?

Learning to sail...

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