Award-winning documentary, “Voyagers Without Trace” (“Les Voyagers Sans Trace”), a story of three young Parisians on an adventure of a lifetime, will be screened at the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library Gould Auditorium on Sunday, April 10, at 3 p.m.
In 1938, newlyweds Genevieve and Bernard de Colmont, along with their friend, Antoine de Seynes, boldly traveled halfway across the world, becoming the first to take kayaks down the untamed Green and Colorado rivers. They captured their experiences on 16 mm color film, but the reels went unseen for nearly 50 years.
Marriott Library Multimedia Archivist Roy Webb, will introduce the film. He first learned of the French kayakers in 1986 through contemporary newspaper accounts and was intrigued by mention of diaries they kept. Webb contacted a descendant of de Seynes and obtained a transcript of his diary and a copy of the original film. Webb then spent the next two decades searching for a filmmaker who would make a documentary of this fascinating story.
In 2010 Webb received a phone call from Ian McCluskey of Northwest Documentaries in Portland, Oregon. McCluskey was seeking a copy of an article about the trio that Webb had written in 1989. After speaking to Webb, McCluskey learned that Webb also had secured copies of the films from the French adventurers. The copies enabled the film crew to retrace and duplicate the kayaking trip of the French adventurers.
“‘Voyagers Without Trace’ is a story of curiosity leading to exploration, and in that pursuit, forming connections of empathy across time, geography and culture,” explains McCluskey. “The French trio sparked my boyhood quest for adventure. What started as a mission to research the past became a larger reflection about being open to the unknown and discovering connections to people and places. Along the way were moments of shared joy and humor.”
Free film screening: “Voyagers Without Trace” (“Les Voyageurs Sans Trace”)
Sunday, April 10, 2016
J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
Click here for directions and parking information.
About Roy Webb
Roy Webb has been running rivers since 1975 and has authored several books, including “If We Had a Boat: Green River Explorers,” “Adventurers and Runners,” “River Man: The Story of Bus Hatch,” “Call of the Colorado,” “High, Wide, and Handsome: The River Journals of Norman D. Nevills,” ‘River Running on the Green: A Brief History,” “Lost Canyons of the Green River” and numerous journal articles on the history of western rivers. He served as lead advisor to the film project and joined the film crew for part of their trip down the rivers.