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February 11, 2014

VIDEO: The Old Man and the Sea – The Expedition

An adventurous documentary about following in the footsteps of Hemingway — in a kayak.

Being from Sweden and dreaming about big game fishing isn´t the best combination. But if you follow your dream, anything can happen.

“The Old Man and the Sea – The Expedition” is an adventurous documentary about following in the footsteps of Hemingway and getting towed out to sea in a ten feet long kayak by a marlin. As well as highlighting the story of Ernest Hemingway as an angler, it is also a film about billfish.

The film is now released worldwide on DVD and on I-pad.

The Swede Martin Falklind was 14 years old when he first read Hemingway’s book, The Old Man and the Sea. Since that day, he has nurtured the dream of the little man in combat with a marlin, a fish larger than himself, larger than the boat.

Longing for a fishing adventure, Martin has the idea to make a modern version of The Old Man and the Sea. Martin persuades his two friends, Pasi and Fredrik, to come along in the search of a place where they can fish for marlin from a kayak. But this becomes a greater journey than they could imagine. Guided by the spirit of Santiago - the character in the novel The Old man and the Sea - the three guys discover the brutal facts about our depleted seas of today. They also realize the importance of never giving in.

This documentary became a great success on Swedish Television, SVT, last year. Now the American version is available on iPad and on DVD.

Sharks and Surf

It took Martin Falklind, Pasi Helin and Fredrik Möller several years to complete their final goal. The first step was to figure out how to catch a marlin from a kayak. At this point, they had very little experience of any kind of marlin fishing, so they started out by practicing in Swedish lakes, fighting a speedboat!

Eventually, after many mistakes and a couple of trips to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, their strategy formed. Martin learnt pretty quickly that keeping extra bait in a mesh bag behind the kayak was not a good idea. The Pacific Ocean has far more sharks than the Nordic sea does and Martin had to literarily poke an attacking hammerhead in its face, in order to get rid of it. He also learned that the surf of the Pacific could be quite violent. First day in Cabo san Lucas with the kayak, Falkind almost drowned.

"We learned the hard way, but I guess that is why this will be an unforgettable adventure to us," says Falkind.

Getting it on Camera

Their second step, once they mastered the fishing – was to film everything. Getting high quality footage and sound in a kayak out at sea, was the actually the biggest challenge.

Falkind explains that they had a very limited budget, so it was a disaster when something broke or got wet.

"One drop of saltwater on a camera or a transmitter and it is gone," says Falkind.

Last week of filming, they got their most adventurous sequences of marlin fighting.

"In one of the jumps the marlin spear is less than two inches from the kayak. It was not until we saw it on camera afterwards that we realized 'we could have been killed!'" says Falkind. "We did wear knife- and bulletproof Kevlar vests, but actually, the marlin could have speared us anywhere."

 The Billfish Foundation, TBF

The late chief scientist Dr. Russell Nelson from The Billfish Foundation, TBF, came to play an important part in the film.

Russell Nelson, voluntarily came to Mexico to assist them, even with not knowing them at all. Nelson was of Swedish decent, and figured that if they were Swedish, they would probably be good guys and worth helping.

Russell Nelson and The Billfish Foundation supported with research and helped with the tagging. During the project, Russell Nelson and the Swedish team got to know each other quite well. In October they went to visit him in Florida, to plan for the American release of the film together with his wife and head of TBF, Ellen Peel.

"Week after, Russell unexpectedly died. It is really sad. Even if he had accomplished quite a lot of importance in his life, it was way too early for him to go," says Falkind.

The proceeds from the film will go to The Billfish Foundation.

A Film for Everyone

The documentary is a mixture of adventure, fishing, biology and history. Fantastic underwater footage, made by American photographer Terry Maas, gives a perspective from under the surface. Interesting historical flashbacks tells the story about Ernest Hemingway as an angler, showing old pictures and footage from the era when the seas were still teaming with life.

But the actual theme in the documentary is the way Santiago - the character in Hemingway´s novel The Old Man and the Sea – helps the three Swedes to accomplish what they have set out for.

Download the Free App

Download the free iPad interactive book from App Store, full with interesting facts, videos and photos from the expedition.

Buy or rent the movie from Vimeo On Demand. 

You can also buy the film on DVD in sport fishing shops, Amazon and The Billfish Foundation web site.

All proceeds from the film will go to The Billfish Foundation.