Written by Nicolas Wilhem

A week after flight SQ346 touched down at Zurich airport, I’m still struggling to get back to earth, but it’s high time for me to make a small interim assessment. The three weeks in Bali have left me with an astronomical amount of memories of all kinds. As they collide in my head, one feeling dominates my thoughts: I want to write you.

Since we started fundraising in November 2018, the journey has not been easy: writing the dossier, looking for potential sponsors, getting refusal after refusal, feeling left behind and having the impression at times that I was going in the wrong direction. But, despite the difficulties, one thing has been constant from the very first start of the project: all of you and your support!

While the project was still only in its early stages, without a precise direction, close friends with huge hearts immediately gave us their financial, logistical and communicational support. They were the first blocks upon which we were able to build everything else. Then there were all the people to whom I mentioned this crazy project. Your response, your encouragement, your interest, your ideas and all your words of support helped me move forward and continue to believe in the project at all costs. Then there’s Marc Lauenstein, who immediately agreed to sponsor the film, a role he executed perfectly. Thank you!

I realized that while this project might not have garnered the support of film institutions, you all believed in it, so we launched a crowdfunding campaign and you once again proved your unwavering support, as it was a success. It was such a strong and motivating feeling to see how much we could count on you. So, to all of you who supported our “We Make It” campaign, shared our posts, talked about the project to your friends or families, believe me when I say: without you, none of this would have been possible! THANK YOU!

As I wrote earlier, searching for sponsors hasn’t been easy (which is pretty common), however, the tremendous energy deployed by the team and their loved ones ended up paying off. Prestigious equipment suppliers, like Salomon and Petzl, joined us in our adventure, but we were also able to count on smaller companies that, despite their modest size, didn’t hesitate to follow us: Lab Trail, 1point60, Alter-Go, PunchPower, Mulebar, Sven de Almeida, De Agostini, or Eric’s Peanut. Thank you, your help has been precious!

Finally, there are the people closest to me and who are also dearest to me. First of all, I was lucky enough to be supported by a magnificent team that, despite the difficulties, always remained motivated. We weren’t really aware of what we were getting into and there were many times when we wondered what we were doing. Yet you kept on going without fail! I’m so lucky to have had you by my side! Thank you Cecile! Thank you Joey! Thank you Laurent! Thank you Igor! Thank you Theo!

Then, there are my family members! Here, adjectives are more difficult to find, because they have supported me for so many years without ever giving it a second thought, in all aspects of my various projects. They’relways there to organize everything, manage teams, raise funds, cheer me up, talk about the project, lend cars, arms, brains and energy. In short, you are there every step of the way in each of my projects and, although I will never be able to find the right words to thank you, I will already start with a huge thank you for everything, every time! I love you!

Then there’s Julia, the incredible woman I have the privilege of sharing my life with. In every situation, you’ve always known how to find the words to allow me to move forward. Your strength and energy have inspired me enormously. Your enlightened opinions and your valuable advice have taken the project much further than I ever imagined it could go. If I stood my ground during the storms, it’s thanks to you! Thank you for all that you have given me without unconditionally, without any expectations!

Finally, I would like to thank one member of my family in particular, who you all know – either quite well or from a distance – since she’s at the center of this project. Ariane, I’d like to tell you how honored I was with the warm welcome you gave me when I told you about my project. You immediately embraced the idea of deepening our relationship and you opened all the doors for me. What you allowed me to discover about you will remain very much ingrained in me, and the opportunity of following you from up close throughout this period will remain forever in my heart and mind. Although many people had an essential role in the success of this this project, you are definitely the one who played the biggest one. I often shiver at the thought of the incredible and crazy race that you led with talent and strength that I had never seen before. I’m extremely proud of you! So to you especially, thank you, from the bottom of my heart!! We have a lot to live and to share still, but what we’ve shared this year and still have to share before the project ends, will be one of the most remarkable periods of my life. 

I can’t wait to get started on editing this film, and even more so to be able to show it to you all once it’s released, hoping that it will honor everything you’ve given it. 

Thank you !

Nicolas

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *