A man walks into a pub in Glasgow with his video camera, and he says to his friend, where shall we go? And she says, “South America?” And he says, “Peru!” And they finish their drinks and totter off to the airport.
That’s (almost) exactly what happened to young film maker, Fraser Gibb, and his friend Kirsty. When Fraser returned, he locked himself in his editing suite/bedroom and cut a thrilling short film about his time on the little-known sand dunes of Huacachina, in southwestern Peru.
I met up with Fraser in London to ask him a few questions about his experience in Peru, where he hiked the Inca Trail and explored large stretches of the Pacific coast.
But before we did anything, I watched his film. And then I watched it again. And again. And then I poured a coffee, and I watched it again. And now you better watch it, to get a feeling for what we’re about to talk about.
Music by The Fridge Magnets
Travelling to Huacachina
I began by asking Fraser how on earth he managed to find this adventure mecca.
“It was a classic friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend type thing. I met this guy in a bar in London and he told me if I was to do one thing in Peru, it had to be this — it didn’t help that he couldn’t pronounce the name of the place!
“He told me to take the bus to Ica, and then a mototaxi out to this tiny oasis, so that’s what we did. When we got there, we wandered up and down looking for hostels and found one that was really laid back and had a swimming pool. That was it!”
Fraser went on to explain about the exhilarating buggy rides that rip across the massive sand dunes each evening, when the sand has cooled down enough from the bright Peruvian sunshine.
Shooting film in Peru
I asked Fraser about his kit, and what kind of planning it took to capture his footage. “I only took my camera up on to the dunes on the second day. The first day I spent enjoying the activity, and thinking about what shots I think might work.
“I only had a two hour window to shoot, so I took a step back from the action and took a few minutes to watch others’ hurling themselves down the dunes, before I decided on the best places to shoot from.
“My camera equipment is really nothing to shout about. It’s a Sony HD Handycam, that I found in Amsterdam on a canal bridge! I handed it into the police, who unsuccessfully tried to find the owner. (On that note, if anyone reading this has lost a Sony HD Handycam in Amsterdam, let me know!).
I could tell I’d tapped into a vein of passion here, Fraser’s soft Glaswegian tones began to canter.But as the film maker, what were his favourite take aways from his project?
“I’m really pleased with the vibe of the final edition. I always intended it to be fast and furious, but short and snappy — I think I achieved this really well.
“My favourite shot from the film actually features me! At the 53 second mark, you see me flying down the bank, disappearing over the brow of the hill, before roaring back into shot and up the facing sandbank.”
As time drew to a close, I asked Fraser what it was about Peru that appealed to him so much.
“It appealed on every level. Most people think Peru is just one big walking track, culminating at Machu Picchu, but while that is an unmistakably amazing experience, there’s so much more on offer, too.
“There’s the dense jungles of the Amazon, and the Cloud Forests of the Andes. They’re absolutely incredible. In four days, we went across oceans, over deserts, through the jungle and up in the mountains. There’s nowhere else on earth like Peru.”
© All photos and video used with the permission of Fraser Gibb.