Czech adventurer Dan Přibáň is well-known as the team leader of a number of expeditions using what was considered the world’s worst car – the Soviet-era Trabant. Where others would opt for all-terrain vehicles to travel some of the toughest areas on Earth, Přibáň and his colleagues chose the plastic Trabant for expeditions across Central Asia, Africa and South America. Last year, they returned from their most gruelling journey yet: Australia and South East Asia. A documentary about their adventure is now set to premiere in Czech cinemas.
At the beginning, things looked very promising for the Trabant Australia and South East Asia expedition, the project taking some three million crowns in a crowdfunding campaign. Unlike their previous projects, expedition leader Dan Přibáň joked that “this time they had had money” for example to by improved camera equipment) but everything else over their six-month journey, at least at turns, “went south”. In the past Přibáň maintained that Trabants, with their simple engine were ideal, because they require at most a hammer and wrench to fix.
This time, their luck ran out at key moments and it seems the cars almost came apart at the seams. Přibáň’s film Trabantem do posledního dechu (which translates as With Trabants to the Last Breath), captures the many up and downs of their odyssey.
“I think we succeeded in really showing the journey so that the viewer feels like they’ve experienced it themselves. In some of the earlier films, you’d have epic shots and then an episode and something funny would take place which would be sorted out, and then we’d move on. In this film, I think we succeeded in getting the viewer closer up. It helped that the team invested in more cameras capable of getting unconventional material.
“We used a lot more small cameras, even on the dashboard, on helmets and so on, so there were a lot more of these kinds of shots you wouldn’t normally get. That put members of our team front and centre and we shot a lot more material. Some of it might not have the same quality of some of the bigger cameras but emotionally they worked. And film is all about emotions.”