Mountainfilm: July Fundraiser Features "Maidentrip"

The story of a girl’s dream to be the youngest person ever to sail around the world – alone! Mountainfilm fundraiser features director Jillian Schlesinger in person.

Laura Dekker at sea

Laura Dekker at sea

On Friday, July 5, Mountainfilm in Telluride keeps its good vibes (and great intentions) rolling with a screening of “Maidentrip,” directed by Jillian Schlesinger. The event takes place at Telluride’s Michael D. Palm Theater. Doors, 7:30; show time 8 p.m. Tickets $10 online and $15 at the door.

“Maidentrip” won the heart of many festival attendees, including Mountainfilm’s director David Holbrooke, and was singled out as the documentary for his Director’s Award.

Telluride Inside… and Out’s Emily Shoff interviewed the director for the run up to Mountainfilm 2013. Below is her story and interview with Jillian.

Emily’s spin on “Maidentrip”:

When the Dutch fourteen year old Laura Dekker set out to sail around the world solo, she embraced the following motto: “Do not be afraid.” It was this fearlessness and determination that inspired filmmaker Jillian Schlesinger to capture Laura’s story in her film Maidentrip.

“Maidentrip” tells of an epic journey—from Laura’s legal battles with the Dutch government to her eventual approval for the trip, and her time aboard the boat sailing around the world. Throughout the film, we are reminded to challenge our assumptions about what the sea is like and what teenagers can do. Everything, we learn, is possible.

Because “Maidentrip” was Jillian’s first film, Laura’s motto about fear not only informed the story, but also the filmmaking process.

“Anytime you set out to do something, there are a thousand voices telling you that you’re wrong,” Jillian said, explaining how she would often think about Laura when she was struggling with the film. “At times, I felt as if Laura and I were on parallel journeys, both striving for lifelong goals, both learning along the way.”

The film was not without its challenges.

“Most of the story takes place while Laura is alone at sea,” Jillian explained, “so it was up to her to capture the bulk of the action.”

Laura shot video diaries with a camcorder and Jillian gave Laura lists of topics to talk about into a Zoom sound recorder while alone on the boat. She also met and filmed with Laura several times during her journey– in Holland, the Panama Canal, the Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia, Australia, and South Africa.

“It was always exciting to collect the material Laura shot on the latest leg of the trip and see how the story was unfolding.”

Laura & Jillian, the director

Laura & Jillian, the director

At one point, Jillian sailed across the Pacific Ocean on another sailboat with friends, but “Laura was too fast for us,” Jillian said, chuckling. “She thought it was fun to race us, and in the end, we never saw her.”

But even though Jillian didn’t get to film Laura in the Pacific, the experience of crossing the ocean was invaluable.

“Being out there gave me a sense of rhythm and monotony that can often characterize long ocean crossings. Of course there are also moments of challenge and adventure—when you encounter a squall or see wildlife or need to fix something. But compared to life on land, things move at a difference pace,” Jillian said to clarify how time feels so different when you’re on the water for weeks on end.

Click here to learn more about why Jillian wanted to make the film and what she learned about Laura and filmmaking along the way.

Purchase tickets here.

Editor’s note: Don’t miss the free Coffee Talk with Jillian Schlesinger, Saturday, July 6,
Wilkinson Public Library, Program Room 
8:30 a.m. Please bring your own cup.


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