Film-maker runs hot and cold

01:22, Nov 21 2012
James Holman
Queenstown-based globe-trotting media producer and camera guru James Holman shoots an extreme race in the Sahara Desert before preparing himself for an Antarctic soujorn.

Award-winning Queenstown-based film-maker James Holman is cooling his heels after documenting an ultra marathon in the Sahara Desert before packing his bags for Antarctica.

Since winning an award for Altered Focus: Burma, a documentary exposing the growing sub-culture of skating in Burma, Holman's services have been in hot demand, and he has been contracted to travel to seven different continents in a year to get behind the lens.

Holman could be forgiven for not being able to acclimatise to any particular temperature. During the Queenstown winter he filmed the First Hand series, showcasing the Queenstown area directly to Chinese web users with local tourism up-and-comers Trent Yeo and Shuangji Zhou.

This involved action on the slopes and off-piste heli-boarding, but just as that project finished a period of extensive travel began.

"After three months of working on First Hand every day for three months, I returned to Myanmar to make a new doco, Youth of Yangon to be released through my company Hot Knees Media next year," he said.

"After filming in Myanmar I had two days to wash, re-pack and head to the Sahara and I am now waiting to head to Antarctica. The differences between these two locations couldn't get more extreme - we're moving from temperatures of over 41 degrees Celsius to potentially minus 15C, so it'll be fairly confusing for the body. We're going from sand dunes with no wildlife to trenching through snow with penguins mocking us every step of the way, but the wildlife is the most exciting aspect of this trip, and this will be my Attenborough moment."


The desert and Antarctic trips have followed Sydney-based ultramarathon team Born To Run in the 4Deserts Series.

"Each desert is a 250km self-supported ultra-marathon, broken down into a format of one marathon a day for four days, followed by a double marathon, a badly needed rest day and then a 10km finish. Once the team complete the Antarctica event, they will be the first-ever team to do so and join a fairly exclusive club of people to have run the 4Deserts series."

This year had been a "dream year" for Holman after winning the award for Altered Focus: Burma in Los Angeles in 2011.

So far he had done a back flip in every country he had visited. Whether the bulky clothing needed in the Antarctic's plunging temperatures would allow him to do this was a concern.

The Southland Times