The Road to Patagonia

New Film by Harkaway filmmaker Matty Hannon is scheduled to premier at the Cameo Cinema in Belgrave March 16. Picture: supplied by Matty Hannon

by Gabriella Vukman

Born and raised in Harkaway, filmmaker Matty Hannon’s new release ‘The Road to Patagonia’ is set to hit the Cameo cinema in Belgrave on Saturday March 16.

Shot over 16 years, ‘The Road to Patagonia’ is a heartwarming documentary centred around Matty Hannon’s journey from one side of the world to the other.

Starting out on motorbike with the aim of surfing the coastlines from Alaska to Patagonia, Matty meets the love of his life and downgrades to horseback with the film following him throughout the heights and troughs of his journey.

Mr Hannon said, “I would like people to walk away from the film feeling really uplifted and I think they do judging by the audience’s reactions.”

“One of the main messages that I wanted to instil in the film is that as humans we are just one strand in the web of life and for 98% of human history we have known this.”

“We are not the apex of the pyramid of creation. We are not the top species that has the right to just dominate and extract and treat the rest of the world like an economic resource. I am advocating for the rights of nature to be acknowledged.”

Growing up in Harkaway, Mr Hannon has fond memories of the Belgrave community and frequent trips to the cameo with his mother.

“The Cameo cinema in Belgrave has been an institution since I was a little kid and I guess the great thing about it is that it is a place where stories are told and stories are what make our culture,” Mr Hannon said.

“When you look at somewhere like Belgrave that has such a vibrant, thriving culture that is diverse and rich in artistry, I would say that Belgrave for me feels like a sort of anomaly in melbourne.”

Mr Hannon said, “I think the really iconic thing about Belgrave is that it has managed to keep that sense of uniqueness and community and the one thing that I learned on the trip through the different people that I interviewed, is that when you have community around you, you have strength around you. You have networks that can foster richness in your life.”

Mr Hannon discovered his love for film when he was living without running water, electricity and internet in remote Sumatra.

“I lived over there for about five years and because I was out of touch with friends and family for quite some time, I picked up a camera to document and show my family why I thought those islands were so incredible,” Mr Hannon said.

“That was the beginning of a passion for photography and cinematography but the actual impetus to create ‘The Road to Patagonia’ film happened after I came back from Sumatra and had studied film at RMIT in Melbourne.”

“After a couple of years working in the city doing corporate video, I just knew it wasn’t for me and I was in a pretty bad place in terms of mental health,” Mr Hannon said.

Seeking a great adventure and life change to jump him out of the disconnect he was feeling, Mr Hannon purchased a one-way ticket to Alaska and packed his things.

Mr Hannon said, “I wanted to go off and find myself and heal myself. I thought I was going to make a ten minute vimeo documentary that I would put on the internet after I spent maybe six months editing.”

“Creating this film was a funny process because I never thought I would make a film that was this big in scale.”

“I started putting it in film festivals around Australia and internationally too and it started winning awards and that sort of thing I was approached by distributors,” Mr Hannon said.

From giant bears to dream waves to unexpected love, ‘The Road to Patagonia’ showcases the depths of humanity and the beauty of community and the natural world.

“There’s a bunch of different messages in the film and one of them is that the world is still just so beautiful and there’s still so much to connect with and love and be proud of,” Mr Hannon said.

“Despite climate change, the plastic in our water and all of our other issues, the entire film is predicated on the idea of community and valuing community over the traditional metrics of mainstream society.”

“I would say not only does film bring people together and have a night of storytelling in a modern sense which I think is really important and enhances the messages surrounding the importance of community in the film,” Mr Hannon said.