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Visiting Latin America with Ikbal Arafa

Feb. 16, 2016

Hi Ikbal, when did you get the idea for a such great tour in South America? How did it come?

Hi, The adventure started when the executive producer, who is a friend of mine, asked me to join his team for this project. It’s a series of documentaries directed by Hamad Bin Sultan, about the journey of the Qatari adventurist Ali AlKuwari. He is travelling on his cycle through different countries of Latin America. As a travel’s lover, I could not say no to this kind of project.

Are you working for a specific production? 

This Tv Show is produced by Qatar TV. One of the most important tv channels in the Arab world. We are using Arri’s Alexa Mini, an Amira and a brushless gimbal with a Black Magic Camera, a DJI drone and a lot of Gopros. We are a team of different nationalities from Qatar, Lebanon, Italy and Tunisia. That’s what I love the most in my job: working with people coming from different backgrounds.

Were you already a CARTONI user before this project? When, where and why did you buy the LASER FLUID Head?

Yes, for sure. CARTONI Heads accompanied me all through my carrier. When I started as a camera assistant, CARTONI systems where the ones we rented the most. It has proven its durability and efficiency on set. Time has passed, and now I work with my own equipment. It was normal for me to buy CARTONI tripods for my cameras.

A year ago, in Paris, the guys from CARTONI FRANCE helped me to pick the right head/leg combination for my needs.

I really love the mid-level spreader and the one clamp lock/unlock legs. It’s really useful as most of the time, when shooting documentaries, you are alone in the field in rough terrains. The payload of the LASER Head was perfect for handling the Alexa mini or a complete Sony Fs7 with a raw recorder and accessories.

Can you tell us about your travel plan? Messico, Ecuador, Colombia... and?

We are following Ali our Qatari Adventurist, on his cycle, through different countries of Latin America. The journey started in Mexico City for 10 days of shooting. We went to Merida, Chichen Itza and Tulum shooting the Mayan ruins, meeting local people and visiting the awesome cenotes (water caves).

After Mexico, we went to Ecuador. An amazing country with a very rich wild life. We really appreciated the nature there. Countless waterfalls in Mindo and Baños, wild animals in the Galapagos islands, the view from the Telepheric in Quito and the old city there were really amazing. 

With the hard disks full of beautiful images, we travelled to Colombia for 5 days. We met with local graffiti artists and we enjoyed drinking some nice coffee in a coffee plantation. Villa da Leyva was one of our stops. A beautiful small town known for its big Plazza and its colonial architecture.

We are very excited to visit our 4th country, Peru.

We still have to discover Cuba, Argentina, Brasil, Antarctica and eventually Bolivia.

We love South America and we are so glad that you let us travel with you! Is this your first travel il South America?

Actually, I went to Rio de Janeiro 2 years ago for a documentary. It was a stressful trip because everybody was warning us about security issues. You know, we have a lot of expensive gear to carry and some Latin American countries are sadly known for the violence. But everything went well and we really enjoyed the wonderful sites that Rio has to offer. 

Which was the most difficult location to shoot? is the most difficult location for shooting till now?

The most difficult one was for sure when I dived in Galapagos Islands. There was a lot of currents and big waves. But the show under the ocean surface was worth it. We saw a lot of white-tip reef sharks and hammer head sharks, sea turtles, different kind of fish. It was really amazing.

And the most exciting one?

The most exiting one was in Mindo, Ecuador when I had to follow our adventurist down climbing a series of big waterfalls in the deep jungle. Shooting under tons of water with only one rope holding me was really thrilling. It was a very nice experience.

Do you have other projects in your next future? 

Yes. The first part of our journey will end in mid-February in Peru. We will take some rest and then we travel back to Latin America for the second part. I have also a Tv series in preparation in Tunisia and some commercials on the go.

And what about Italy? You should come to visit us in Rome!

Yeah for sure, with pleasure. It will be exciting to see where CARTONI’s story started. And it can be a nice occasion to visit my Italian friends. 

Ikbal Arafa
Vimeo - https://vimeo.com/user3338160/videos
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/ikbal_arafa