(photo above: taken by the film fest photographer (left of right) Chris and Tawny of CaptainandClark.com, Mike from Kickthegrind.tv, Brock from Backpackwithbrock.com, me! and Greg from Skinnyfoxproductions.com )

I first heard about the Nomading Film Festival in November of 2010. At the time it was a growing idea of 4 friends living in New York and the minute I heard about it I was beyond thrilled. Not only was this going to be a Film Festival specifically for travel videos but also it was a film festival made for the real travelers, who film their travels on everything from an iphone or point and shoot to a fancy little handi-cam. From the beginning their motto would be travelers first, filmmakers second.

You might say I’m a filmmaker first and a traveler second but no matter this film festival fit me and all of my videos from Travel Yourself to a “T”. With fear of not having a film good enough to enter, I offered up myself to lend a hand in anyway to the Noff guys, but they had it all under control themselves and I did my best to promote the fest to everyone that I thought might be interested and then some.

As the deadline to the festival quickly approached, I found myself headed on a trip to Europe and in particular to Iceland and thought that rather than submit a film I had already made, why not make a film specifically for the film fest? I feverishly edited but just like with any deadline I submitted my film on the last day possible and then all I could do was wait. A couple weeks later with my fate in their hands I received the awesome email from the Noff guys that my Iceland video had been selected to be a finalist in the top 11 films out of 100 submitted to be nominated for a chance to win the grand prize of a trip to India from Intrepid Travel!

This past weekend on Saturday June 18th, 2011 in New York the first ever Nomading Film Festival took place. I flew to New York from Vancouver (where I had been the previous weekend attending the TBEX conference) so that I could be there in person. I arrived a few days early to see friends and hang out in the city (new videos to come soon!). Friday evening before the film festival TripFilms hosted a pre-fest party for those in attendance and I got to meet some of the other awesome filmmakers who films were also selected into the top 11 along with getting to hang out with the Noff guys, and other travel filmy people like Grant Lingel from TheHostelLife.com.

Conveniently for me the film festival took place at the HI New York Hostel located on Manhattan’s Upper Westside and that is exactly where I stayed while in New York. One of the biggest hostels in the world this was probably also one of my favorite hostels I’ve ever stayed at. Located just a short block from the subway, not only does it have awesome newly renovated washrooms but there were also not one but two pillows on my bed! two!

Sorry, back to the film festival. The filmmakers were asked to arrive around 3pm with the rest of the audience trickling around 4pm. Most of the festival activities took place in the hostels backyard, one of the largest privately owned green spaces in Manhattan. The Noff guys had a million things happening to keep everyone entertained before the screenings took place. There was a MustNoff photo booth, two bars, a taco truck (oh ya and every ticket to the fest gave you two free drink tickets and two free tacos! amazing!) there was bean toss, a Popsicle stand, a map for people to mark down the oddest places you have visited on their travels, a live band, an African band and dancer, an Indian dancer and more! We were entertained all night long and I haven’t even gotten to the films yet.

Smartly located at the back of the hostel indoors was a large ballroom that had been converted into a screening room for the film festival. There were two identical screenings of the films at 5pm and 7pm so everyone got a chance to see the films and vote on the 4 categories 1.Trip I wish I was on, 2. Nomad (s) I want to travel with 3. Trip I’m glad I wasn’t on 4. Video that made me learn the most.

In no particular order the films selected to be finalists in the top 11 were:

1. Sak Yant by Captain and Clark

Chris and Tawny the awesome modern day cartographer traveling duo travel to Thailand in their submission to get a Sak Yant – a mystical blessing that a traditional Buddhist Monk will tattoo onto you if you make the pilgrimage to do so.

2. The Road to Machu Picchu by Mike “Frisk” Corey of KickTheGrind.TV **WINNER “Trip I wish I was on”

Mike travels to Peru and wakes up extremely early in the morning to be first in line to tour Machu Picchu and it’s neighboring peak of Wayna Picchu. The views are spectacular.

3. Inside / Out by Joshua Johnson

Josh filmed for 35 days while traveling in Argentina then took that footage mixed, remixed, flipped, shaken, and spun on its head…

4. Andy Dennis by Matt Cascella **WINNER “Trip I’m glad I wasn’t on”

An afternoon in the back woods of Montanna is spent with high school student Andy Dennis.

5. Sustaining the Human Connection: Togetherness by Toby Mullinkosson

A video filmed in Africa teaching us about togetherness and how we are all the same.

6. An Indian Short: Getting a hair cut by Brock Groombridge

While in India for 2 months Brock’s hair gets a little long so he heads off for a hair cut that comes with some extra, odd and quriky benefits.

7. March of the Tiger by Greg Raposa

Greg and is friend travel through China making their own pathway to get to the Great Wall, playing pool against Michael Jackson loving Chinese people and ringing bells with the promise to keep them safe.

8. Euroblast by Donny Bajohr **WINNER “Trip that makes me want to travel right now” & a trip to India with Intrepid travel

A photo montage of Donny’s month long trip through many European cities with two friends.

9. Elephant Birth by Nathan Kaufman **WINNER “Video that made me learn the most”

While on safari in Amboseli National Park in Kenya Nathan captured a baby elephant trying to stand after just being born.

10. Duzer Down (West Coast Bike Tour) by Ryan Van Duzer **WINNER “Nomad (s) I want to travel with”

Ryan Van Duzer bikes 3,000 miles from Vancouver to Cabo San Lucas.

11. Travel Yourself Does Iceland by Cailin O’Neil (thats me!)

Follow Cailin as she explores Iceland and it’s waterfalls, geysers, glaciers and interesting food and drink!

All of the films selected were awesome and unique in their own way. I would say that the screenings were a success and the festival was a success. I didn’t take home a prize but I got a lot of great feedback on my film and hopefully I have inspired many people to get out there, travel, film and maybe check out Iceland while you are at it. I’m also excited to share with you a video from AOL Travel featuring me that was shot at the film festival, you can watch it HERE.

A huge congratulations goes out to Bassam, Mikey, Andrew and Josh of the Nomading Film Festival for being awesome and doing such a wonderful job!

Don’t forget there is one prize left! Click HERE and have your chance at voting online to let one of the top 11 films win $200 from Travelocity! Voting is open until July 3rd.

Oh and if you missed my film or maybe you just want to watch it again here it is!