As well as creative blog and book projects, I used to do quite a bit of filmmaking, even winning some awards in the process. While my newer videos can all be found on my YouTube channel, here’s a selection of the past work I’m most proud of.
Karun / 2014 / 15′
A source-to-sea misadventure along Iran’s longest river.
In the spring of 2014, Tom Allen and Leon McCarron set out to follow Iran’s longest river, the Karun, by human powered means. Their aim was to go beyond the politics and explore the culture and geography of this most misunderstood of nations – and have a great adventure doing so. But despite Tom’s deep personal ties to Iran, they found that cultural differences run deeper than they’d realised. And when the once-calm waters of the Karun turn nasty, they wonder if they’ve bitten off more than they can chew…
Official festival selections: Nissan Adventure Film Festival 2015, Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival 2015, Sheffield Adventure Film Festival 2015, UK Adventure Travel Film Festival 2015.
Awards: People’s Choice, Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival 2015.
The Original Beer Can Stove Video / 2013 / 8′
Probably the most watched video I’m ever going to make.
In 2013, I casually filmed a friend making a clever little camping stove, using nothing but a beer can and a pocket knife. After editing and uploading it to Vimeo, I completely forgot about it until I came back a few months later to discover it had gone viral via Lifehacker. It’s been viewed almost 4 million times since. The internet is weird.
Janapar: Love, on a Bike / 2012 / 79′
A true love-story, filmed over four years in thirty-two countries by one man on a bicycle.
More than half a decade in the making, Janapar: Love on a Bike is a feature-length directorial debut for James W Newton who worked closely with Tom Allen as he captured every aspect of life on the road. The film was cut from over 300 hours of material shot in 32 countries and features an original score by award-winning composer Vincent Watts. Janapar’s World Premiere was held at the 20th Raindance Film Festival in September 2012.
Official festival selections: Boulder Mountain Film Festival 2013, Kendal Mountain Fest 2013, Graz Mountain Film Festival 2013, ZagrebDox 2013, Bansko Mountain Film Festival 2012, Adventure Travel Film Festival 2013, Sheffield Adventure Film Festival 2013, Sofia MENAR Film Festival 2013, New York Bicycle Film Festival 2013, Transatlantyk Festival Poznan 2013, Quais Du Depart 2013 in Lyon, Curieux Voyageurs 2014 in St. Etienne, Hip Trip Travel Film Festival 2014 in Bucharest, and many others.
Awards: Best Exploration & Adventure Film at the 62nd Trento Mountain Film Festival 2014, Spirit of Adventure Gold Award at Sheffield Adventure Film Festival 2013, the Dr. Michael J Hagopian Award for Best Documentary at the Pomegranate Film Festival 2013 in Toronto, and Best In Show at the Adventure Travel Film Festival 2013.
Letter from Lapland / 2011 / 2′
A glimpse of life on the road in an Arctic Scandinavian winter.
In January 2011, Tom decided he wanted to know whether or not it was possible to travel by bicycle in the depths of winter. With daytime temperatures rarely rising above ‑10°C and with night-time temperatures plummeting to ‑30°C and below, Tom cycled and camped his way 1,000 miles north from the Norwegian capital of Oslo to the Arctic Circle in Sweden and beyond. This is the video postcard he sent home.
Ride Earth in Outer Mongolia / 2011 / 4 x 10′
A four-part ride across the roadless steppes of Mongolia.
In 2010, old friends Tom and Andrew reunited to take mountain biking to its logical conclusion: a six-week ride across the world’s most sparsely-populated nation. Is it possible to use the bicycle as a mode of transport in a country without roads, in which half the population are tent-dwelling nomads, and where it’s possible to ride for days without seeing a single settlement? Tom’s first filmmaking project as a producer-director aims to find out.
Latest posts about my films and videos:
At the time of writing, the video above has been played 1,311,131 times. Needless to say, when Armen and I popped out to buy a couple of cans of Kozel for this film, we were not expecting this to happen. It’s been fun to watch the statistics over the last few days. It’s also been […] Continue reading →
You know what I love most about this fantastic little film? (Do watch it.) It’s the fact that what our protagonist has unwittingly done is exactly the same as embarking upon a really long bike trip. The only difference is that he never leaves his home city. (But then if life on the road is less about leaving […] Continue reading →
This year I was asked to be a judge for the Adventure Cycling Association of America’s first Bicycle Travel Video Contest. Like many of the other judges (whose number included Dom, Alastair, Friedel & Andrew, Russ & Laura, Michelle, and Ryan), I watched a lot of videos that were kind of OK. I watched a few […] Continue reading →
If you’ve enjoyed the Janapar deleted scenes series I’ve been running over the last couple of weeks (here’s the first one, in which I faceplant into some concrete), I’ve got a little bonus for you — a comedy “outtakes reel” of the most embarassing footage I wish I’d never given to the editor in the first place. […] Continue reading →
This scene recounts all the chaos of a classic experience which all who head down Africa’s east route will negotiate: the weekly ferry crossing of Lake Nasser, from Aswan (of Dam fame) in the south of Egypt to the tiny port of Wadi Halfa in northern Sudan. Deep within the historic region of Nubia, this […] Continue reading →