Solo (2008 film)

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Directed byDavid Michod
Jennifer Peedom
Produced byChris Hilton
Screenplay byDavid Michod
Chris Thorburn
StarringAndrew McAuley
Music byLisa Gerrard (composer)
Sam Petty (Sound)
CinematographyHelen Barrow
Jonathan Biggins
Simon Higgins
Edited byScott Gray
Mark Fox
Distributed byHopscotch Films
Release date
  • 8 November 2008 (2008-11-08)
Running time
58 minutes

Solo (also known as Solo: Lost at Sea and Solitary Endeavour on the Southern Ocean) is a 2008 documentary film directed by David Michod and Jennifer Peedom. It narrates the story of Australian adventurer Andrew McAuley who attempted a solo kayak crossing from Tasmania to New Zealand.[1][2]

After a month at sea, his mission ended in tragedy. His body was never recovered but his kayak was, as were video tapes documenting his journey. These tapes, together with footage of McAuley's preparation and interviews with his support crew including wife Vicki, form the basis of this documentary.[3][4]


In January 2007, thirty years after the first man-powered crossing of the Tasman Sea by row boat, Andrew McAuley set out on his quest to become the first person to kayak from Australia to New Zealand to cross 1600 km of one of the most dangerous oceans on Earth - the Southern Ocean stretch of the Tasman Sea. After a month at sea, Andrew had endured all the difficulties and a three-day Category 9 storm. On 9 February, New Zealand maritime authorities received his distress call but they could not save his life. His body has never been recovered.

Solo is a psychological portrait of McAuley's determination to claim a first and conquer the unknown - something that ultimately cost him his life.


Production of the documentary began in 2008, a year after McAuley's death. The film was to be based on his journey, and also utilise his recovered video tapes.[5]

Director Jennifer Peedom said about the subject of the film that "There's a very fine line between making it and not making it, and he didn’t make it. And it's only then that people turn around and say, "Well, you know, what are you doing it in the first place for?," you know. So, it is an interesting kind of area, and I think there is no black and white."[6]

David Michod the co-director on the film said that "That footage was so compelling. Just so powerful. I came into this thing just wanting to know what might lead someone to attempt something that would have such a powerful and emotional effect on him." He further added, "What I started to see really quickly was that the Andrew who existed on land in preparing for his trip or talking about how his first attempt hadn't worked out, was a very different character to the one out at sea. The one out at sea seemed somehow alive."[6]

Release and reception[edit]

The film premiered on 15 September 2008 on National Geographic[7] and then screened at the Sheffield International Documentary Festival on 8 November 2008.[8] After that it screened at a number of film festivals. On 16 April 2009 it was broadcast on ABC 1.[6]

The film earned mostly positive reviews. Rod Yates of Empire Online gave the film five stars and said "As a tribute to a man – and man’s – insatiable search for adventure, it’s unforgettable."[9] Paul Kalina of The Age also praised the film by saying "The film is harrowing and poetic, and provokes difficult ethical questions about those who practise - and film - acts of extreme peril."[10]

The film DVD was released on 19 March 2009.[11]

Awards and official selections[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2010 Australian Screen Directors Guild Awards Best Direction in a documentary David Michod
Jennifer Peedom
Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival Best Film David Michod
Jennifer Peedom
Prague International film festival Grand Prix David Michod
Jennifer Peedom
2009 Banff Mountain Film Festival Best Film David Michod
Jennifer Peedom
Festival du Film Voyage & Adventure, Montreal Canada Grand Prix David Michod
Jennifer Peedom
Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival Grand Jury Prize David Michod
Jennifer Peedom
Australian Film Institute Best Documentary Under One Hour Jennifer Peedom Won
Hory a Mesto Festival in Slovakia Grand Prize David Michod
Jennifer Peedom

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Solitary Endeavour on the Southern Ocean". Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  2. ^ "Ratemymeds: Solo". Archived from the original on 4 July 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  3. ^ "Going Solo". Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  4. ^ "Solo". Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  5. ^ "Dangerous waters". Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  6. ^ a b c "Adventurer's quest ends in tragedy". Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  7. ^ "The Film". Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  9. ^ "Adventurer Andrew McAuley attempts to kayak from Australia to New Zealand". Archived from the original on 27 June 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  10. ^ "Australian film is alive and kicking goals". Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  11. ^ "OUT NOW Solo". Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  12. ^ "IDFA Solo". Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  13. ^ "Adelaide International Film Festival: Solo". Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  14. ^ "solo director". Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  15. ^ "Australian Directors Guild unveils 2010 award winners". Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  16. ^ "winners". Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  17. ^ "2009 Film Award Winners". Retrieved 19 April 2013.

External links[edit]