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Friday, March 16, 2007

First Stop, Cleveland

When Brook Silva-Braga announced he was quitting his job to spend a year traveling around the world, his coworkers said it was a great idea; however, his boss confided that some of them were whispering, “There’s the idiot . . . the one who’s giving it up.”

But like many of those who have caught the travel bug, he was determined to make it happen by conceiving what would become “A Map for Saturday,” a documentary film about the experience of long-term solo travel.

“The idea for the film was really an excuse to take the trip without feeling like I’d thrown away a career I’d been working towards since high school,” says Silva-Braga. “I had no idea if the film would ever be seen, but I felt that if I worked hard on it, good things would happen.”

After leaving his camera bag on a bus seven months into the journey, he wasn’t so sure anymore.

“I took a bus from Dublin to Belfast one afternoon. I was always taking a bus,” he says. “I walked from the bus station to a hostel . . . and put my bag down at the reception desk. But my small bag was missing—the bag with my camera in it. So I went running back to the bus station. After about ten minutes a guy came walking from the garage with my camera bag in his hand, and I was very, very relieved.”

Despite a few setbacks, “A Map for Saturday” made its world premiere at the Cleveland International Film Festival last night, and had audiences reminiscing about their own travel experiences.

“The film inevitably reminds people of the good times they’ve had on the road themselves,” Silva-Braga says. “And I hope it inspires some of them to take the leap and do a long trip.”

Editor's note: Brook Silva-Braga's new film "One Day in Africa" is premiering at the Cleveland International Film Festival on Thursday, March 26, 2008.