Videographer and author Tom Allen is looking for partners to continue his series of one-off screening events of Janapar, a bike touring love story.
Allen, now 30, departed the UK at the age of 23 on a round-the-world bicycle adventure with two close friends. But fate had other ideas: Allen’s dream ride was stalled in its first year when he met Tenny Adamian, an Iranian-Armenian woman, in wintry Yerevan, Armenia.
He convinced the Tehran-born design student to join him, but when things didn’t go to plan, Allen was forced to continue alone. Recording the critical moments of his journey on a handheld video camera, Allen returned to the UK in 2010, when BBC producer-director James W Newton picked up on the story.
Allen and Newton spent the next two years creating Janapar: Love on a Bike, which premiered at the 20th Raindance Film Festival in 2012.
"I make documentary films for a living, and this was just a really strong story," said Newton of the project. "It was so unusual – the jeopardy, the twists and turns, the things that happened that you couldn’t possibly have scripted."
Since its premiere, Janapar has been released on DVD and digital download, has been featured at more than a dozen international film festivals, including the 2013 Bicycle Film Festival in New York City and last weekend’s Adventure Film Festival in Boulder, Colorado.
It has also scooped the ‘Spirit of Adventure Gold Award’ at the 2013 Sheffield Adventure Film Festival and the ‘Best In Show’ award at the 2013 Adventure Travel Film Festival.
But it’s the series of one-off community driven events, such as those at The Cycle Hub in Newcastle, Look Mum No Hands in London and Rutland Cycling in the Midlands, that have really created a buzz, said Allen.
"The story is a very personal one and so it’s a much more rewarding experience for the audience if I’m there in person to share it with them."
More than 30 community-driven events have been held since the beginning of the year.
"The most successful events have been when local bike shops and clubs have brought together their members, their links to the local community and their knowledge of local venues," said Allen.
"We’ve worked together with these local organisers to throw one-night-only style events at which we not only screen the film but also run a Q&A session afterwards and stick around for a few drinks."
A new DVD edition of Janapar will be released next month, featuring subtitles in 11 languages.