You’d have to be mad in these days of Mid East conflict to want to ride a motorcycle to every Arab nation in the world, but that’s exactly what 26-year-old Matt VanDyke did. And didn’t it get him in trouble!
Matt left home in Baltimore in 2006 and set off on a self-described “crash course in manhood”. He bought a motorcycle and a video camera and began a three-year, 56,000km motorcycle trip through the Arab nations of Northern Africa and the Middle East.
The result was six months in a Libyan jail and the film, Point and Shoot, which won Best Documentary Award at the Tribeca Film Festival. It will be shown around the world, including Sydney, this month. See the schedule below for times and tickets.
While in Libya, he struck up an unlikely friendship with an Arab hippie, and when revolution broke out, Matt joined his friend in the fight against dictator Muammar Gaddafi. With a gun in one hand and a camera in the other, Matt fought in – and filmed – the war until he was captured by Gaddafi forces and held in solitary confinement for six months.
On his return to the US, Matt sent an email to two-time Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker Marshall Curry explaining his adventures and offering him hundreds of hours f his video footage.
Marshall thought it was an amazing tale, rich with questions about adventure, idealism, transformation, and the way we craft ourselves.
The raw film footage is augmented by interviews with Matt and a simulation of his time in jail since his camera was confiscated.
Matt doesn’t seem to have been fazed by his experiences, travelling to the super-hot spot of Syria, to film the war. He wanted to use media to support the rebellion and has not been an active fighter.
The result of his time in Syria was the short film Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution, which has received numerous awards from film festivals around the world.