Tourist With A Typewriter Ltd. is an independent documentary production company dedicated to creative human rights and social justice films. It was founded in 2004 by filmmakers Saeed Taji Farouky and Gareth Keogh in order to tell challenging, immersive, humanistic stories. Our award-winning documentaries look behind the obvious sensationalism of daily news and ask how individual lives fit into the bigger picture.
You can watch trailers for our film below. Most of our films are also available to buy or rent online, just click the button at the top right of the trailer.
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World Premiere & winner of two awards, Berlinale 2015
THERE WILL BE SOME WHO WILL NOT FEAR EVEN THAT VOID (more about this film...)
THE RUNNER (more about this film...)
I SEE THE STARS AT NOON (more about this film...)
A Moroccan man's illegal journey to Europe
Tell Spring Not to Come This Year follows one unit of the Afghan National Army (ANA) over the course of their first year of fighting in Helmand without NATO support. It is an intimate film about the human side of combat, told from a largely unheard and misrepresented perspective, that explores the deep personal motivations, desires and struggles of a band of fighting men on the frontline. Without a NATO soldier in sight, and no narrative but their own, this is the war in Afghanistan, through the eyes of the Afghans who live it.
The film received its World Premiere at the Berlinale in February 2015 and was awarded the Amnesty International Human Rights award and the Audience Award for best documentary.
There Will Be Some Who Will Not Fear Even That Void is an ecological film for the 21st century.
It is a film about the future of our planet that turns the traditional environmental documentary on its head. Rather than looking at our influence on the environment, ...Even That Void examines the environment's influence on us - emotionally, psychologically and ethically. The film suggests that the limits to exploring and dominating nature are no longer technological, but moral. We now have the technology to "conquer" virtually any part of the planet if we want to - the question is no longer "can we" but "should we"?
...Even That Void was shot over a two and a half week sailing voyage on a tall ship carrying twenty artists around Norway's remote Arctic islands. The documentary chronicles the bizarre, surreal and beautiful work of the artists, living aboard the ship, landing daily and making work in response to the extreme environment and innate poetry of the Arctic landscape. The film's narration is composed of audio interviews with the artists and the Director's reading of his lyrical expedition journals.
While the footage is real, the plot - inspired by the other-worldliness of the location and recent events in the Director's own life - is fictional. The Director imagines the artists as a team of specialists sent on a mission in the near future to rebuild the Arctic environment after it has been decimated by global warming. With no master plan, maps or blueprints, each artist recreates the Arctic of his or her own memories, fears, desires and (flawed) expectations.
The film also features an experimental soundtrack. Under the musical direction of composer Joe Lewis, each track is written and produced by one of Norway's leading ambient artists, using no sounds other than manipulated and remixed field recordings collected during the expedition by pioneering Australian sound artist Daniel Blinkhorn.
The film follows a typical expedition narrative - a ship sets sail on a hazardous mission with a motley crew of experts. Will they succeed in their mission? Will they return safely? But the standard adventure plot becomes a surreal dream-like futurist fantasy. The sense of wonder at the landscape is balanced by darker contemporary concerns: global warming, the Arctic resource race, the political tension of a militarised Arctic and the disappearance of the last great wilderness.
Ultimately, the film is a love-letter to the Arctic: obsessive, tumultuous, affectionate, heart-breaking. The demise of the Arctic environment is felt as the death of a family member. The title is taken from a letter Johannes Kepler wrote to Galileo Galilei in 1610, musing on the future of space travel. "Provide ship or sails adapted to the heavenly breezes," Kepler hypothesised, "and there will be some who will not fear even that void."
We do not want to conquer, we want only to explore. We want simply to enquire. To do this, we map our trajectories across the landscape, to know where we've been and what we leave behind. To know what residue our presence leaves on the environment. And to prove it to others. And to ensure we do not repeat the same mistakes again - the Victorian adventurers who measured and categorised and identified and named as an act of ownership.
We, too, will measure and categorise and identify, but for different reasons. To make these measurements, we use those same machines of exploration: an aerial vehicle, an underwater vessel, a sailing ship. With these we measure the conditions of our surroundings and ask "what have we left behind that we did not intend to? Is it inert, innocuous? Is it poisonous?"
But even as we measure, our machines influence the environment further. They are measuring themselves. There is a feedback loop. There is reflexivity, the Observer Principle. These minute anomalies must all be measured.
Is this exploration only one-way? Is it not reciprocal? What of the environment's influence on us? Not only the physical, but the psychological, the emotional. How is this measured? How do we map inspiration, awe, joy, intimidation, confusion, fear, loneliness?
The Arctic also explores us and she, too, leaves a residue. To this end, the camera is my measuring device. I observe the other crew members exploring and measuring over three strata (air, land and sea). I explore with them. I watch. I react. I question. I participate and agitate. I have no sense of direction or spatial awareness, so I and the camera can be lead only by basic sensory and emotional responses.
I challenge my body every day as I train for long-distance running. My work should commit to the same level of intensity, and through that physical challenge I will record also the non-physical. I record the emotional because it is, after all, at the point of extreme physical exertion that my emotional state is at its highest.
The Arctic has a physicality. It is defined, above all, by one singular characteristic: cold. To understand the Arctic, we must experience this physicality. Only the body can recognise this nature of the Arctic.
The Arctic has also a non-physicality. It is defined, above all, by the absence of everything we recognise and relate to. To understand the Arctic, we must experience this non-physicality. Only the camera can recognise this nature of the Arctic.
Saeed Taji Farouky, Sarah-Jane Pell, Connor Dickie - February 2011
To date, the film has been screened at:
The Runner is a film about endurance. It is the story of a champion long-distance runner whose journey transformed him from an athlete into the symbol of a national liberation movement. Salah Hmatou Ameidan is willing to risk his life, his career, his family and his nationality to run for a country that doesn't exist. He is from Western Sahara, officially Africa's last colony and under Moroccan occupation since 1975.
As he approached the end of an 8km race in first place, he pulled out a Sahrawi flag - illegal in Morocco and a symbol of the independence movement - and waved it across the finish line. Knowing he could never return to Morocco safely, he immediately sought political asylum in France and has been there ever since. He was offered citizenship by France and Spain, but refused both, saying he would never run under any flag but that of a liberated Western Sahara.
Salah insists, whenever possible, on representing the Western Sahara in competition. Today, he is not only one of the highest profile Sahrawi activists in the world, but is seen by his people as a hero, a symbol, an ambassador and a spokesman for the Western Sahara liberation movement.
"Running is part of my resistance. It's the only weapon I have."
Salah has paid heavily for his activism. When still in Morocco, his family home was repeatedly raided. He was blindfolded, taken to prison, interrogated and tortured. Since moving to France, he has been attacked four times by people opposed to his campaigning. Three members of his family have been imprisoned for non-violent resistance in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara, and his uncle was recently killed by Moroccan police under suspicious circumstances. He has no citizenship, and because he is too controversial for major sponsors, he survives on race winnings and the support of charities.
The Runner follows Salah during two critical years of the "Arab Spring", and examines what drives him to take immense risks, and make huge sacrifices, for a cause that is virtually unknown. The film looks at the burden of being a hero and asks "how long, before you stop running"?
PRESS FOR THE RUNNER
I See The Stars At Noon offers a unique and revealing insight into Abdelfattah’s desperate attempt to reach Europe. At times humorous and disturbing, it intimately examines the circumstances that lead him to risk everything for an utterly uncertain future: his ambitions for a new life, his expectations of what Europe can offer him, and his frustration at the failures of his own Morocco.
Hundreds of Africans attempt to cross the Straits of Gibraltar illegally every month for what they believe is a better life in Europe. They are willing to lose their friends, their families, and even their lives to chase this fantasy. Currently, immigration into Europe is an extremely controversial subject, and while EU members continue to demand secure borders, the controversy will not be easily resolved.
But I See The Stars At Noon is not only a portrait of a hopeful immigrant; it is also an exploration of the nature of documentary filmmaking and objectivity. The traditional relationship between filmmaker and subject is thrown into question when Abdelfattah asks why his life is being filmed for the benefit of European audiences, and what he deserves in return. Such issues are rarely dealt with in documentary film, and by addressing them head-on, I See The Stars At Noon stands out as a highly original and deeply personal look at the dilemma of illegal immigrants.
Director & Camera: Saeed Taji Farouky
"An excellent piece of work."
"A beautiful film."
"I See The Stars At Noon is...one of the most poignant and relevent films on asylum I have seen."
"Another documentary that should be sought out...Farouky generates an intimate and nuanced portrait of an intelligent but increasingly desperate young man...The film brushes against the ethics of the documentary process as well as that of the migration."
"I See The Stars At Noon is the poignant, deeply personal tale of Abdelfattah...that humanises those that are otherwise faceless."
"This is an important documentary for the 21st century because the subject, Abdelfatteh, knows about the role of the filmmaker and challenges the documentary-maker on camera. It makes viewing both uncomfortable and enlightening."
"The best documentary films are, of course, those which do not trust themselves. One of the best examples of this highly interesting theme...is I See the Stars at Noon...All the old ethical questions of the genre, around the degree of participation of the documentary filmmaker, are very specifically addressed."
"Absorbing and searching...it shows the picture from the other side."
"...offers an intimate look at the topic [of illegal immigration]."