By Marie-Renee Goulet

North American Premiere
(At the request of the filmmaker, this film is available only in Canada)
47 minutes, UK – Adventure & Exploration

This film is an interesting study of the darker side of risky pursuits and their impact on loved ones when things don’t go as planned.

This is the story of Louis, who seeks to row across the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to understand his father, who died while rowing the Pacific when he was just four years old. Peter Bird was a British ocean rower who, in 1983, became the first person ever to row non-stop and solo across the Pacific from east to west when he completed his journey from San Francisco to Australia. What drives a man to be at sea, alone for 294 days? But he didn’t end there; he kept rowing for years. Peter had made four attempts at a west-east crossing of the Pacific from Russia to North America. In 1996 he attempted the route a fifth time and set out from Nakhodka, Russia, on 27 March 1996. On 3 June 1996, the Russian Rescue Centre picked up an emergency signal from him. A few hours later, Bird’s badly damaged boat was found with no sign of him.

The boat was brought back to his home and is still in the family garage today. Peter filmed himself (8MM 16MM) on all of his voyages and left a significant archive. Sequences are brilliantly edited in throughout the film. Peter appears to be a lovely man, gentle with a good sense of humour. I wish I could say you get to know him, but really, you don’t. I don’t know what made him tick or how he can walk off a tiny boat after 294 days at sea and smile and look refreshed to the Australian news who gave him quite the welcome in 1983. Two hundred and ninety-four days of rowing the Pacific Ocean without any of life’s comfort? There was no money in it, no prize.

Louis and his mom try to make sense of this part of their life, and eventually, the inevitable happens: Louis announces he will row the Pacific. To his mother’s relief, he takes an experienced rower with him. Some very touching moments and a poignant character study on what happens when a boy loses his father at such a young age in a seemingly pointless way.

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