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Rural Route fulfilled an ambitious plan over the coarse of 2008-2009. We called this season, “Nomad,” because it involved roaming through the ends of the Earth for a full year, screening our programming and collecting rural stories in a travelogue-style documentary. The “Nomad” tour kicked-off in October 2008, following a New York City festival in which Rural Route collaborated with local and international partners, screening a plethora of rural shorts and features, and launched a brand new “Best of” DVD (subtitled in Spanish and French) that will remain a long-term staple of the festival.
Rural Route Director Alan Webber played the part of the Nomad, traveling consistently for an entire year with a backpack, video camera, mini-projector, and stack of DVDs. Webber stayed in hostels, camped, and accepted friendly invitations of lodging via couchsurfing and hospitality club. He was joined by key Rural Route partners – Jason Ross, Jared Hohl, Nerissa Campbell, and Josh Howard for stints along the way, riding buses up Chile and Peru/down through Brazil and Argentina, taking a boat to Antarctica, driving and train-riding around Australia and New Zealand, zooming through rice fields and scaling Himalayas via Korea-China-India-Nepal, getting through a big chunk of Europe by cheapest means possible before getting through the Middle East and South Africa, Ethiopia, Mali and Kenya by car, 4×4, and camel. Throughout the voyage, the RRFF films were screened at universities, film centers, art spaces and theaters with previous partners and new friends. Webber also set-up several “Rural Extreme” screenings in places such as desert roadsides, mountain villages, and on boats next to icebergs.