Where Are They Now? Film Stars From The Past 10 Years: Part One

Have you ever wondered where the people from the films of previous film festivals are now?

In 2024 we celebrated eleven years of the Ocean Film Festival World Tour, so we decided to take a look through the archives of some of our favourite films and contacted the people for a catch up! They were all super excited to hear from their favourite Ocean loving community. If you have been with is from the beginning, have fun reminiscing on the years. If you’re joining us for the first time, enjoy reading some epic stories about some incredible people!

2014- And Then We Swam- James Adair and Ben Stenning

2014 saw the extraordinary story of two best mates from the UK who, as university students made a drunken pact to row the Indian Ocean. Having forgotten the pact, James and Ben spent the next seven years toiling in jobs they hated. By 2010, the pair had had enough of their mundane lives and suddenly remembered Ernest Hemingway’s famous words, “always do sober what you said you’d do drunk”.

Having never rowed before, the two friends set out on a secondhand boat. Nobody thought they’d make it.

James Adair and Ben Stenning rowing a boat around the world
James Adair and Ben Stenning rowing a boat just off the coast of Africa

5632kms and 116 gruelling days later, off the coast of Mauritius just 8kms from the finish line a wave capsized their boat which left them swimming for five hours in shark infested waters. Thank goodness they were rescued and safely brought to shore where they lived to tell the tale and make this documentary. ‘And Then We Swam’ was made by filmmaker Ben Finney and screened at the Ocean Film Festival in 2014, it was a total hit!

But Where are they now?!

When asked what adventures they had been on since the 2010 expedition, James let us know they have been very busy having kids, but assured me “not together!!”

Since the biggest adventure of all time is underway, other less life-threatening expeditions have been on hold. However Ben and James can’t sit still for long and are currently working towards doing another row and a sailing circumnavigation. Ben currently lives in Kenya and works in logistics, whilst James is London based and is a partner in the company called ‘Big 5’ which aims to ensure that companies in Africa and emerging markets have access to the vesy best leaders and global talent pool.

We asked James what motivates him to go on these kinds of adventures and he said, “You only get one life, so best to live it without regrets.”

2015- Devocean- Bruno Hansen

In 2015 we had our hearts touched by South African born Bruno Hansen in the film ‘Devocean’. Bruno spent the majority of his life in or on the water, then in 1998 a tragic event led to a physical change with his body. In an instant he plunged from carefree surf guide, sailor, scuba diver and traveller to the depths of despair.

A chance wave and the restorative powers of the ocean showed Bruno a new path in life, one that would be rich, full, diverse and salty. ‘Devocean’ inspired us all with lessons taught by the sea and the possibility of creating a nwe life out of the ashes.

You won’t believe what Bruno has been up to since 2015! There are clearly no limits for someone who has the correct mindset and is willing to work hard. Since making the film ‘Devocean’, Bruno has made it into the Guiness Book of World Records for winning 6 Gold Medals (consecutively) as a world champion in para adaptive surfing, making him the only surfer in history to do this.

On top of that, he has travelled the world surfing different waves and competitions, meeting other disabled adaptive surfers and now lives in Central America where the jungle meets the sea. To top it all off, Bruno has an extended version of ‘Devocean’ airing on Netflix called ‘Ocean Therapy’, and been busy with subsequent TV interviews.

2016- Gold Of Bengal- Corentine

In 2016, we watched in awe at the incredible story of Corentin De Chatelperron. Starting in Bangladesh, the young engineer and his team designed a sailboat made entirely out of jute fibre and christened it “Gold of Bengal”. But beyond the challenge based on the material used for the construction, Corentin’a goal was to achieve autonomy at sea. To that end. he embarked with two hens, a small greenhouse to plant potatoes and other hand-made tools for six-month journey around the deserted islands of the Bay of Bengal.

This merry odyssey was the first of many studies in how resourceful low-tech methods can provide basic needs for survival.

Since this film, Corentin has been on a number of expeditions all focused on employing the same low-tech methods of travel and survival, proving his expertise and skill to be very impressive.

“If 75% of our planet’s surface is covered in water, then why do we call it Earth?”

This is the kind of question that motivates Corentin to sail the world’s oceans and learn about low-tech living.

In 2021 we screened another of Corentin’s ground breaking adventures called ‘Wave of Change: A low tech surfing adventure.’ This saw Corentin and his crew board the Nomade Des Mars and set out on a sailing trip around the coast of Mexico with a simple idea in mind: sail at the winds pace, surf the waves and take advantage of the stopovers. An adventure based on simplicity whilst focusing on two areas of expertise; boardsports and resourcefulness.

Their boat had a floating laboratory and self- contained ecosystem devoted to cataloguing and developing low- tech technologies all over the world. These technologies are simple, affordable, environmentally friendly and used to meet basic needs in a variety of area such as energy, food, waste management, and health care.

Since the 2016 expedition, Corentin has spent 6 years sailing around the world, visiting 25 countries, completed more than 50 low-tech studies, made many discoveries and had tons of adventures.

This is what Corentin says of his experience:

“Stopover after stopover, this trip has opened my eyes on our clumsy management of the planet and of our human capacities but has amazed me with the beauty and magic of nature.”

I am coming back excited about the great potential of living in a healthy sustainable way on our beautiful planet, filled with convictions, ideas and dreams for the years to come.

In June 2022 the Nomade De Mars returned to Brittany where there was a week-long celebration and low-tech festival to welcome Corentin and his crew. Big things are ahead for Corentin who has just finished writing a book and starring in another documentary film!

2017- Sea of Gypsies- Nico Edwards

Sea of Gypsies screened at the Ocean Film Festival in 2017 and was as awe inspiring journey of a crew and a gypsy vessel made by hand in the 1970’s. The vessels name was infinity, a 120 ft hand- built sailing ketch that plies for the Pacific Ocean on a never ending voyage of nomadic exploration.

“life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “wow!” What a ride!” – Hunter S Thompson (Nico’s inspiration for the adventure).

You may remember the story that started in early feb 2014, during the iciest year on record in the southern ocean, Infinity and her crew of 16, left New Zealand on 8,000 mile pacific crossing to patagonia, with a stop in Antarctica. Along the way, they battled a hurricane of ice in the Ross Sea, struggled with compounding mechanical and flooding problems, undertook a mission with the radical environmental group Sea Shepherd, tore every sail they had, and unwittingly went further south than any sailing vessel in 2014.

This expedition was undertaken with a nin-ice-reinforced gypsy boat built by hand in the 1970’s, crewed by a band of wandering miscreants, with no permits of insurance and an almost nin-existent budget. This was a story about sailing, the camaraderie of a shared struggle and the raw awe inspiring power of the natural world.

 This was a story about sailing, the camaraderie of a shared struggle and the raw awe inspiring power of the natural world.

Since 2017, the sailing ship Infinity has been on two major expeditions, first in 2018 she did a very long version of the NorthWest Passage, from Fiji to Amsterdam, over the top of Canada. And in 2022 she went back to Antarctica, very very late in the season, definitely the only ship down there at the time. 

“During the 2018 NorthWest passage, we stopped at the plutonium leaking Runit Dome in the Marshall Islands. All in all it was pretty brutal and completely amazing, the peaks were high and the valleys deep. Infinity was the only ship to make it through the passage from west to east that year (about 30 ships started the trip). 

Lots of hot air at the North Pole pushed the ice south into the passage, clogging it up to the point that locals were telling us it was the most ice they had seen in summer in living memory. Infinity got stuck a number of times and we were beginning to prepare ourselves for overwintering, but Captain Clem made some rather large rolls of the dice and we got through by the skin of our teeth. The toll it took will be lasting though”, tells Nico Edwards, filmmaker and fulltime adventurer. 

Nico is currently editing the 2018 expedition into a 10 part series that will be released in a few years. This is a sequel to ‘Sea Of Gypsies’ and we hope to show part of it at our 2024 Ocean Film Festival. Featuring some epic footage and music, Nico is taking his time to polish and perfect the editing, as he says, “you can’t rush perfection”. 

2018: Touched by The Ocean -Karlis Bardelis

In 2016, two Latvian friends Karlis Bardelis and Gints Barkovskis became the first team in the world to row across the South Atlantic Ocean. They rowed from Namibia to Brazil as seen in the 2018 documentary ‘Touched by the Ocean’, it was done without an engine, sails or accompanying boat, neither of the two were experienced rowers but avid enthusiasts who decided to achieve the impossible. In fact, rowing was so foreign to them that they started their trip preparations by typing into Google, “how to row an ocean”.

Karlis is a prolific adventurer. Before the 2016 expedition, he crossed Europe from North Cape to Gibraltar on Nordic skates in 60 days covering more than 6150 kilometres. In 2014, Karlis and three other cycling enthusiasts travelled from Riga to Sochi by bicycle, achieving a 2840 kilometre long wintery ride and reaching the capital of the Winter Olympic Games of 2014 in 17 days.

Since 2016, Karlis has been on a journey to row and cycle around the world. 

In 2018, he restarted in Brazil and cycled on a tandem bicycle to Lima, Peru, with his then-girlfriend. They pedalled the 5,400km in 102 days.

After that, he solo rowed 26,000km across the Pacific, landing in Malaysia after 715 days and became the first person to row from South America to Asia.

In 2020 COVID-19 forced Karlis to pause his circumnavigation and he waited it out back home in Latvia.  

A year and a half later he was back in Malaysia, ready to recommence his challenge, however when he arrived in December of 2021, his boat had suffered some significant water damage. After some repairs were made Karlis realised that rowing the entire way across the Malacca Strait was almost impossible due to strong headwinds. Instead, he decided to cycle 850km across Malaysia to Kuala Perlis, and made the final row from there in January 2022.

Next was Sri Lanka to Tanzania, however during the route over to Africa, Karlis hit multiple challenges with huge waves and strong winds blowing him off course leading him to end up finishing in Somalia. 

In June 2022 Karlis completed his 6 year trip rowing the oceans of the world, an extraordinary feat. 

Today, Karlis is actively engaged in inspiring others with his story and planning for the next adventure.

“When I’m crossing the Ocean, I have the privilege to be silent for a very long time.

When ashore, I barely can stop talking for a moment. Luckily, talking has become my work too. Lectures in schools, public storytelling events, corporate company team inspiration for the next challenges. Yesterday, I was invited to a very special private event with only 12 people there, something new for me and I loved the intimacy. Such an amazing evening!”

When we asked Karlis what motivates him to go on all these crazy adventures he said, “it is my life! I can’t imagine not doing the things I do. I’ve got 99 problems, but motivation isn’t one of them!

Stream previous Ocean Film Festivals to your home now on AdventureReelsTV.com.au

AND keep an eye out for part 2 of this “Where are they now segment’

More To Explore

Subscribe to our mailing list

1. Stay up to date with screening dates
2. Receive a FREE Snorkelling Trip Packing List
3. Receive a FREE Surf Trip Packing List
4. Receive a FREE Scuba Diving Packing List