Round-the-world cyclist and adventurer, Tom Allen, will be showing his film-documentary, Janapar, which tells the story of his four year epic cycle adventure. The film will be screened at Saddleworth Cricket Club On Monday 18th November. Doors and bar open at 7.00pm with the film starting at 7.30pm. There will be a charity raffle to raise funds for Dr.Kershaw’s Hospice, with some great prizes to be won, including signed copies of Tom’s book, Janapar, which accompanies the film. After the film screening there will be a question and answer session with Tom, followed by a book signing.
The following write-up is taken from a press-release for the film.
ABOUT TOM ALLEN
23-year-old Englishman Tom Allen is all set for a successful career in IT, but he finds himself persisted by the question of our time: isn’t there more to life than this? Leaving it all behind, Tom sets off on the ultimate quest for freedom.
For the next 12,000 miles, with neither maps nor guidebooks, Tom films the unfolding of his dream. Despite an unexceptional background and with no athletic talent, he cycles and camps his way across three continents. But the journey takes an unlikely detour when he falls in love with an Iranian-Armenian girl.
Struggling to keep his dream alive, Tom convinces Tenny to get on a bicycle and join him. But when things don’t go to plan, Tom is forced to continue riding alone. His decisions lead him to the depths of the Sahara desert, where - amid challenges unimaginable - he catches a glimpse of the answer he set out to find.
Filmed over four years with cinematic ambition, Janapar - named after the Armenian word for journey - is an honest and life-affirming tale of finding what you’re looking for when you least expect it.
More than half a decade in the making, Janapar is the directorial debut for James Newton who worked closely with Tom Allen as he captured every aspect of life on the road. Cut from over 300 hours of material shot in 32 countries, the film is an unprecedented self-documentary with cinematic ambition, featuring an original score by award-winning composer Vincent Watts. Janapar’s World Premiere was held at the 20th Raindance Film Festival in London.
When I first met Tom, he was about to embark on the journey of a lifetime. But neither of us knew what that would come to mean. A complete newcomer to the world of filmmaking, Tom agreed to shoot his experience on a MiniDV video camera. He would send me the footage whenever possible, and I would offer him feedback.
Over the next four years his story unfolded. It soon became highly personal, and Tom began telling his tale with frankness and intensity. While freelancing as a producer-director for the BBC, I spent my weekends assembling vignettes of Tom’s adventures and his burgeoning romance, trying to figure out how this extremely intimate experience could be shaped into a single narrative. After reading early drafts of Tom’s book and after many months of development, I finally had a script.
Like a typical indie filmmaker I blagged my way into someone’s storage cupboard, borrowed some equipment and convinced the best editor I knew to spend two months in a dark room with only me, a cup of tea and Tom’s raw material for company.
The footage spanned four years and three continents. Far beyond a simple journey, it depicted entire chapters of its subject’s life. Wrestling with the film’s structure, it soon became clear that the story was theatrical in scope. It possessed the power to inspire and to change the way people thought about life. It deserved more than to be told in simple chronological sequence. Thankfully, the feature-length format provided the creative freedom to do the story justice.
Janapar has universal themes. It was beautifully filmed by Tom with an unusual level of honesty. He invested a great deal of trust in the lens, and we hope that this is reflected in the finished film.
James Newton is a documentary and factual TV producer-director. His most recent project was a one-off documentary for BBC One about survivors of violent crime, presented by Kirsty Young and including exclusive interviews with James Bulger's mother. This 9pm special, transmitted on August 23rd 2012, was James’ first hour-long broadcast piece and became the most-watched program in the slot. It received ‘Pick of the week’ in the Daily Mail, ‘One to watch’ in the Telegraph, and attracted strong reviews across the press. Janapar is his first theatrical feature documentary.
I met James whilst preparing to take a huge leap of faith, leaving everything I knew behind to set out into the unknown. He was a director looking for stories, and although I was initially reluctant, he soon convinced me to film mine. I had no previous experience, and my early attempts at capturing my experiences were less than successful. But when my journey began to stray from the original plan, I recognised that the story was growing more interesting by the day. At that point I decided to invest in the storytelling role wholeheartedly.
As a complete newcomer to filmmaking, the biggest challenge of all was to reconfigure my perception of the medium and start shooting for the edit. Laypeople such as myself typically have no concept of the filmmaking process, assuming that stories emerge more-or-less fully formed in front of the cameras. I also had to train myself to form an honest, uninhibited relationship with the lens. This took months of practice, far too many failed attempts, and some serious soul-searching.
The footage I sent to James from the second and third years of adventure, and the unexpected relationship I found in that time, now forms the main story thread of Janapar. James and I worked hard on the production throughout 2011 and 2012. I was writing a book concurrently with the script development, and we’ve now got a finished feature documentary on our hands, which we’re really proud of. Looking back, it’s funny to think that this five-year project only came to completion through a string of fortunate accidents entirely outside our control.
"A profound, gripping adventure - a dramatic story about the things that matter most in life."
Oliver Steeds, Explorer & Investigative Journalist
"Tremendously moving, engaging, honest, and wonderful!!"
Roz Savage, Ocean Rower & National Geographic Adventurer Of The Year 2010
"So engrossed I almost missed my stop!"
Shane Winser, Expedition & Fieldwork Adviser, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
Thanks to Tom Allen for the photos and information © Tom Allen