This Cinematographer Has Weaved His Round The World Trip Into A Tapestry Of Colour, Culture And Compelling Connections

If you were to pass Rod Gotfried and his fiancé on a street somewhere in the world, you would assume they were like any normal couple: enjoying time with each other and seeing the world. But 27-year-old Rod also happens to be a cinematographer and so, unlike many of our holidays, he has recorded his round the world trip to create a series of atmospheric montages – which can be followed here. The latest in the series documents their journey through the magical, melting-pot of Morocco.

“I really wanted to explore the contrast between the chaos of the cities and the relative calm of the surrounding areas of Morocco”, Rod explained when we caught up with him remotely, from the other side of the world, “Marrakech and Fes are such crazy cities that really overwhelm the senses, yet they are so incredibly different from other cities such as Chefchaouen and Essaouira, which are both quiet, traditional towns that also have so much to offer”. This diversity, the all encompassing assault on the senses versus quaint quietness and the seemingly endless expanse of the desert.

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The thing that perhaps most connects us to places we may have never visited, is Rod’s attention to detail – his sharpening of the blurry – the things that often lurk in the background of our landmark photos, or increasingly, or selfies. The cats sat beneath bikes leaning on sandy walls, the snake charmer and his affectionate humour toward his reptile companion, the craftsmen in the souk. He weaves together a rich tapestry of heritage, humanity and heterogeneity – yet within all the different scenes and shots, he still allows us to the see the individual threads.

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Through Rod’s selective footage and obvious eye for colours, textures and culture defining scenes, we get an insight into Morocco that a guidebook could never give us. We spoke to Rod, though still on his round the world adventure, about this incredible country and why he loved it so much.

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The Plus: Why did you decide to travel around Morocco?
Rod Gotfried:
Morocco has always been a country I’ve wanted to explore. It was an amazing opportunity to explore the Sahara desert, something I’ve always wanted to do. It was also a way to experience a very difficult culture to anywhere I’d travelled to before, with a mix of Arabic, French and African influences. My fiance (who features in the video) and I are currently in the midst of a 12 month round-the-world trip, and after visiting Portugal it was an easy flight to Marrakech.

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TP: Did you go with the intention of creating a video or did it unfold naturally?
RG:
Being a professional cinematographer back home in Australia, I wanted to make the most of our round-the-world trip by creating a number of video projects along the way. Morocco was one country I was really excited to shoot in. It has such a diverse range of landscapes and such energy on the streets, it really is a perfect filming location!

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TP: How many hours of footage did you record in total and how did you decide what to include in the video?
RG:
I’m fairly selective in what I choose to film. Rather than simply filming everything I see, I generally know what sort of shots I’m looking for, so I don’t tend to end up with massive amounts of footage that end up on the cutting room floor. I look for things that are unique to that particular country, whether it’s a cultural tradition, practice or even a unique location. I like to feature the local people as much as I can, to show the human side of a country. I also look for elements with movement. Static shots with no movement are a guaranteed way to make people fall asleep whilst watching!

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TP: What most surprised you during your travels?
RG:
It may be a strange one, but what surprised me most about Morocco was how connected it was in terms of technology. We had 3G phone signal almost everywhere we went, even in the middle of the Sahara, and the internet was in many cases faster than I would have back home in Australia!

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TP: How has your journey continued to inspire your work since your return?
RG:
We are still travelling for another 8 months, but there were many lessons on this shoot I learnt that will be able to help me with future shoots.

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TP: Sum up Morocco in three words.
RG:
Beautiful. Traditional. Overwhelming

TP: Sum up your video in three words.
RG:
Uplifting. Exciting. Intimate

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TP: What’s next for you?
RG:
We are currently travelling through the Balkan region of Europe, before we spend the entire month of August exploring Turkey, which is where I’ll be filming my next project. After Europe we head to South America for 6 months.

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