Explorer Mikael Strandberg

The Yemen Documentary; An International Update

“I must tell you – your film is amazing! Indeed, you paint a picture of Yemen that is refreshing, vitalistic – quite different from the negative portrayals most frequently encountered in the media, as mentioned in your article. From my view, your film enhances the understanding of Arab culture and provides alternative representations of Arabs that contradict stereotypes frequently encountered in the Western mass media.” 

This is one of the nicest reviews I have ever received and if I have ever felt any doubts for all the work I have put in since early 2011 to get this documentary made, that comment kill them all.

I have since early September last year put a lot of effort into understanding the International world of documentaries. It is very complicated and really a Jungle in itself very much built on having the right contacts and economy. Nothing different from the world of exploration. So after much thinking, consulting and little sleep, I have decided to stick with the original film and do English subtitles. A very good choice, even though I know that this means it will never be shown on TV in countries like the US, UK, Australia and Canada, since they just don´t do subtitled documentaries. But, I am really against English voice over and narration just to fit the needs of a market. I am too old for that! However, I do understand some facets of the market and what they want, with the little time they have to view each submission.

One of those needs which needs to be done to fit into the market request is having a specific homepage for the film. I have done this one at www.expeditionyemen126dgereesintheshade.com and please take a bit of time to browse around to understand more about the documentary.


Another very important aspect of adhering to market wishes is of course to have a trailer. And Ulrika has done one and will do two more.

Expedition Yemen – 126 degrees in the shade – trailer 1 from Explorer Mikael Strandberg on Vimeo.

A third need is for a variety of different synopsis’s and I use this one:

“You´ll die. Or get kidnapped by Al Qaeda. What you want to do is impossible!”

That is what all experts, analysts and the Yemenis themselves told me. But I have done the impossible. I have made my way into what many say is one of the most difficult countries in the world to enter, and one of the most dangerous. Together with the Swedish journalist, Tanya Holm, Kensington the Camel and a few of the oldest inhabitants of Arabia, the Bedus, I have traveled through one of the hottest deserts on earth. We didn´t meet any terrorists, religious extremists and nobody got killed. I didn´t even feel any serious fear.

What we found during this adventurous walk, in our search of the real Arabia, was a Middle Eastern country very different from the one portrayed in the global media.

Read more at http://www.yourmiddleeast.com/features/making-a-positive-documentary-about-yemen-video_16956


A fourth must is a poster, see above, and finally you need to print up a bunch of DVD´s or/and have a link to an online viewing station, which I have at Vimeo.

If there´s any international media out there wishing to review the documentary, please contact me at mikael@mikaelstrandberg.com



  1. Dear Mr. Sandberg,
    Actually, simply getting to Yemen is easy – depending upon current rules, you might need a sponsor (any tour guide will do), but most Europeans have little difficulty getting a visa. If you say you are a journalist or filmmaker, it could be more difficult – you would need a special permit.
    Similarly, getting large lenses or video equipment through Customs would be a challenge, even with a permit. Small, personal size stuff is no problem. Filming in or near a crowd would also be a challenge, but not in the middle of nowhere or among friends.
    As to getting killed or kidnapped, a short-term casual visit, without a large entourage or fancy car is pretty low risk if you stay away from trouble spots. The main thing is to be in basic good health – local health care is poor.
    Thank you for making your documentary. Have you discussed having the film dubbed into English, French and Gerrman with a commercial production or distribution company? They would probably pay for dubbing in return for a share in the proceeds of foreign distribution, which would get your work a much wider audience.
    Anyway, keep exploring. No risk, no reward.

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