"Hiccups and Hazards": Swiss filmmaker Claudio Von Planta in conversation

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By Euronews
"Hiccups and Hazards": Swiss filmmaker Claudio Von Planta in conversation
Copyright  euronews   -   Credit: Dubai

Swiss filmmaker Claudio Von Planta reflected on the ‘hiccups’ and ‘occupational hazards’ that he’s experienced throughout his career at the launch of the 2022 Dubai Motorcycle Film Festival.

He told Euronews, “As a documentary filmmaker if you end up in a prison, you know you're on a good story because somebody wants to stop you.”

He was talking about an incident that saw him stopped at a police checkpoint in the North-West Frontier Province (now a region of Pakistan) while filming with the Afghan Mujahideen in one of the refugee camps in Peshawar. 

“You are a foreigner in a place you shouldn't be. And then your visa is expired”, he said, adding “so the local police guy, he just wanted to have a bribe, a fee, for a penalty, and I didn't have any cash. And so he kept us in prison overnight.” That night turned into one month.

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Scene from Ewan Mcgregor and Charley Boorman TV seriesEuronews

Claudio is best known for his work with Hollywood actor Ewan McGregor and British presenter Charley Boorman on The Long Way Up, Long Way Down, and Long Way Round TV series which saw the trio ride around the world together. The show has garnered a legion of biker fans and inspired a new generation to take to the road. 

“It's quite impressive. It's a vibrant community here when I suddenly realise so many people got inspired by these films… And that's why they did their tests, that's why they bought the bike, started to, you know, go out there and discover the world” he said.

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Scene from Ewan Mcgregor and Charley Boorman TV seriesEuronews

Claudio credits his Swiss Army military training and early career working as a documentary maker in conflict zones with helping him to get the job on the Long Way TVseries.

He told Euronews, _“The main thing is I learned about the effects of weapons… I knew what it does and that helps you to judge the situation so you know where to stop… and when to pull out.” Adding, “One reason why I suddenly got hired on the Long Way series, because they needed a guy, one guy who can do everything on his own because they only had one third bike._”