A cinema in the backpack

“Eleven kilo of projection material, on top of all the bivouac gear, in the backpack... this project was slightly crazy! Still, this is how I celebrated my 50th birthday...

The dream was born 10 years earlier, when, while celebrating my 40th alone on the GR5 trail, I encountered the “Via Alpina” plaque. Since then, this transalpine route had been hovering in me like a promise, an upcoming rendezvous.

We had to wait for the children to grow up a bit. Seven years later, we concretised this dream. In 2010, we crossed the Alps as a family, in three months of hiking, from the Adriatic to the Mediterranean Sea. Upon our return, from this strong experience I made a film, like a poetic invitation to walking: “12 legs and 5 backpacks”.

The wish to disseminate it arises, of course. And where better to show it than on the trails where we walked, in front of other hikers and mountain people? Those, to whom the mountain talks. And thus we loaded the projector, the screen, the speakers and the computer in our backpacks. Hiking by day, projecting in the evening, at the stop in huts, campsites or inns.

Before leaving, I had sent emails all over to accommodation places and tourist offices in French-speaking Switzerland and in the French Alps, proposing them to host this nomadic cinema. Positive and enthusiastic replies came... from three very precise zones. Therefore, we organised our “tour”: one first week of hiking around the Dents du Midi; a second week by the Thabor, between Galibier, Vallée Étroite and Névache ; then a third week in the Queyras massif by Fontgillarde and Ristolas.

At each stop, people were expecting us, welcomed us, often put us up and invited us to share the meal. Two showings were organised spontaneously: one in a shepherds’ hut near to which we had pitched the tent and the other in a pizzeria run by the daughter of the keepers of a hut who had already hosted us.

Usually we put up the screen in the late afternoon and the projection started at nightfall, around 8.30 or 9pm. After the movie, the discussion started with the spectators: questions, comments, sharing of experiences.

Depending on the places, the atmosphere, the feelings, the perception were different but the film never let anyone indifferent. In total, we counted some 375 spectators who participated in these 11 nomadic projections (often between 30 and 40 persons and up to 65).
Thanks to all our hosts, spectators, hikers met on the trails. Many of you confided in us how much we made you dream. Beyond dream, there were so many moments of dense emotion, and so often these eyes glowing from shared longings and feelings.  And this is was our wish when we came back from our Via Alpina, to share the dream of the trails. Because a dream of a trail, that is the body which takes the dreams by the foot.”

Anne and Geoffroy, Jephan, Niels and Ushka

The DVD of “12 legs and 5 backpacks” will soon be available (some tweaking still to make) and we are open to any proposal for a projection.


: contact(at)vialpe.be

The website: www.vialpe.be