Brazil Travel Film Scholarship


Go on assignment to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and experience Carnival.

Every nomad has a story. And we believe that those stories are worth sharing with the world.

This year, our 2012 Travel Film Scholarship is off to Rio de Janeiro capture Brazil’s most vibrant cultural festival – Carnival! This assignment is about really getting under the skin of Rio and experiencing it with the locals.

You’ll spend 10 days in Rio under the mentorship of Filmmaker and Producer Trent O’Donnell (who filmed our Positive Footprints series screened on Nat Geo Adventure Channel). In that time you will be producing 3-5 three-minute travel-themed videos that will be considered for broadcast on Nat Geo Adventure!

This year, we’ve changed things up a bit. How so, you ask?

1. We are not looking for documentaries; we want travel films – and we want you in them, not just behind the camera.

We love travel docos and we’ve had some amazing submissions in the past, however this year we want to try something new! We want to focus on you, our world nomads, in front of the camera. We want to experience a journey with you – the emotions, the moments, the adventures implicit to travel.

2. We’re accepting applications for not just one person, but also for teams of two to apply.

Solo Application

You must have solid film making skills, but more importantly, you must shine in front of the camera. We want to be inspired to travel, and to travel with you. The winner will essentially be a one-man show, needing nothing more than a camera and a sense of adventure to unearth a great story.

Team Application

We know that some of you are excellent filmmakers, with zero desire to see your face on film.  And there are others of you out there that are talented in front of the lens, but are hopeless behind it. That is why this year we’re opening up applications to pairs – you can be a combination of one filmmaker and one presenter or two people who can use a camera and stand in front of it.

Note (Seriously..Read this!): This is not an opportunity just to bring a friend along for a holiday. If you are applying as a pair, you both must play a role in front or behind the camera. In the application, you will need to specify “filmmaker”, “presenter, or “filmmaker/presenter”, for each team member, and we must see those roles come through in your application video.

Photo courtesy of Ana Cristina Riente

What we want


There are plenty of beautiful looking travel videos out there. What we’re looking for goes a bit deeper – we want to see the conversations, the commentary and the reactions to your experiences, not just the stunning vistas.


Who we’re looking for…

In your application video, we should really get a sense of who you are and your personality. You should be:

– comfortable in front of the camera

– engaging and charismatic, the kind of travel companion everyone would like to have (think Natalie Tran, Ian Wright or even Bradley Cooper…we don’t ask much!)

– curious and inquisitive, interested in the lives of others, and always willing to interact with and learn from the locals.

up for anything, at any time

Who we’re not looking for

– America’s Next Top News Anchor

– Someone whose idea of getting close to the action is sitting by the hotel pool

– People so uncomfortable on camera, they look like they want to cry

About the Assignment

The winner(s) will be sent on a customized 10-day film trip to Rio de Janeiro.

* You will meet up with some Triptrotters, and native residents of Rio to join in some of their favorite local activities – it could be exploring the eclectic shops and cobblestone alleys in Santa Teresa, learning how to play footvolley at Copacabana or sitting down to the best empananadas in town after a samba session.

* Head over to the Sambadrome with passes from Be a Local to watch the culmination of the Carnival parade from the grand stands and then join the throngs of revelers in one of the many neighborhood ‘blocos’ parties.

* Visit an International Volunteer HQ project in the favela community Barriera do Vasco and learn how building safe and weather proof houses is helping the community.

* Get out of the Carnival mayhem to experience life at a WWOOF homestay located on a nature reserve just north of the city.

*…plus many more exciting activities!

* At night, rest up in an awesome local Airbnb pad.

* Prior to departure, we’ll work with the winner(s) to flesh out themes, storylines and potential filming ideas….then we’ll let you loose to research and get amongst it!

 * Every day you’ll catch up with your mentor Trent to review your footage, discuss your story direction and floss him for tips of the trade over a capirinhna or two.

Photo courtesy of Elliot Carvalho

What’s the deal?


* We’ll fly you (or your team) to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from your country of residence.

* You need to be available to be in Brazil from February 6-17, 2013 to participate in the project.

* Under the mentorship of Trent O’Donnell you will shoot 3-5 three-minute travel videos about the experience.

* You will keep a daily diary about your time on the trip and upload this plus pictures you’ve taken to your travel journal.

* You will edit your 3-5 travel videos and submit them to within 2 months of your return (and then we’ll promote the bejesus out of them and make you a travel film superstar!)


Who can apply?



* Any non-professionals can apply – this is open to film students, or anyone who’s trying to build a career in film making and/or presenting!

* Minimum age 18 (by application deadline) with a current, valid passport and you must be available as per the dates set out. Please note these dates are not changeable in anyway.

* You may be a resident of any country.

* You should be a mad-keen auteur with a lust for adventure and burning desire to be a filmmaker and/or presenter.

* You must be fit and healthy as moderate levels of physical work are involved as well as a number of late nights!

Photo courtesy of Francois Baron

Am I eligible? What makes a non-professional?

This is a grey area, and very tricky to put measures around. We appreciate that the  filmmaking and presenting industries are difficult to break into and there are a lucky few who can count themselves as professional full time filmmakers or presenters.

This scholarship is very much about the mentorship opportunity, and the judging panel will be selecting the person or team who they feel will most benefit from the learning opportunity. So if you have already been commissioned to make films or have had your work broadcast on numerous occasions, it is unlikely you will be selected.

You will be asked to outline your experience to date in the submission process, and it will be the judging panel who decides who is most suitable based on their video and written component. So whilst we are not stipulating exactly what does and does not constitute a professional, think about the spirit of the mentorship program and whether you think you would make the most ideal candidate(s).

Important Dates

**You need to be available between February 6th-17th, 2013 to participate on the assignment.**

Applications Accepted: August 3 – October 15

Judging Period: October 15 – November 5

Winner Announced: November 6

Assignment: February 6 – 17

Final Films Due: April 22

Photo courtesy of Hayley Pan

Apply now

If you want it, you’ve got to show it. To apply you need to:

1. Compile a maximum 3-minute travel video in English based around one of the following themes;

SEEK ADVENTURE: “My Kind of Adventure” – Show us your personal brand of adventure, it can be anything from your favourite outdoor activity, your latest off the beaten path adventure or navigating your local food markets.

CONNECT LOCALLY: “Through Local Eyes” – Get under the skin of a place (whether on the road or in your backyard), and show us a side of it that travellers may not usually experience.

LEARN NEW SKILLS: “Learning how to…” – Ever wanted to learn how to Samba or maybe give Mongolian throat singing a try? Take us on your journey as you learn how to do it.

The themes are completely open to interpretation, so be creative! The travel video may be compiled from previous travel videos you’ve shot.

It’s up to you to convince our judging panel through your video that you (or your team) have the spirit for adventure, on-camera charisma and passion for filmmaking to be chosen for this scholarship. The aim of the scholarship is the give the winner(s) a foot in the door to the travel film industry.

Our judging panel will be looking for;

* The ability to convey a strong narrative within a short time-frame
* Originality
* A visually engaging story
* An entry that demonstrates strong filmmaking skills as well as engaging on-camera talent (you know… someone you would want to travel with, someone who makes you want to go there).

Entries compiled solely of still shots will not be considered, you need to demonstrate your skill with the moving image.

Remember, 3 minutes maximum means that 3:01 videos will be ignored. In a professional video environment, you need to be able to deliver up to the exact time, we’re no different in this case. Do not go over!

2. Upload your video : Go to YouTube or Vimeo to upload your video.

3. Add your video to Create a journal and fill in the entry form, then follow the simple instructions to upload your video into the post. In under 1200 characters tell us about your video;

– What inspired your subject matter?

– What has been your filmmaking experience to date?

– What is your ambition as a filmmaker/presenter and what would winning this scholarship mean to you?

Convince us you are a worthy candidate! Both your written answers and video submission will be equally considered as part of the judging process.

One entry per person/team (no longer than 3 minutes, again remember, entries that exceed this will not be considered).


Entries close October 15, 2012, 2pm AEDT (Australian Eastern Daylight Time UTC +11)

Please don’t leave your entry until the last minute, and note that the 2pm closing time is AEDT, not necessarily 2pm in YOUR time zone.




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