Rhode Island Filmmaker Honored at RIIFF Academy Awards Oscar Party

Newport-based filmmaker Sprague Theobald of Hole in the Wall Productions will be among special guests honored at the RIIFF’s Night Out at the Oscars event this Sunday March 7, 2010.

Newport, RI – Notable artists are often too busy to step into the spotlight. Some figured this was the case with Newporter Sprague Theobald. The Emmy award-winning filmmaker is finally taking a break to accept a few rays of limelight at the Rhode Island International Film Festival’s Night Out at the Oscars event held at the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in Providence, Rhode Island on March 7th (6PM). The guest list of honorees includes Providence Mayor David Cicilline, Rhode Island Film and Television executive director Steven Feinberg among others.

Theobald is being recognized for the visually stunning and socially conscious work found in his sixth and upcoming documentary, Braving The Northwest Passage. Due out this year, the film will reveal the Arctic’s danger, adventure, history and perhaps most of all “the beauty that we as a global community risk loosing should it not be properly cared for…“ said Theobald. The filmmaker has dedicated his life towards directing and producing documentary films that focus on political, cultural, historical and environmental topics worldwide.

Other documentary accomplishments include Theobald’s well-acclaimed “Poverty to Pearls” and “58 Harrison Lane.” Both films capture people who deal with genuine hardships and struggles everyday. Theobald’s work has gained significant recognition to win such awards as the Best Informational Special Emmy Award, International Academy of the Visual Arts Silver Award in Cinematography, Best in Category American Museum Award, Best Editing American Business Award, two Telly Awards and many other honors.

RIIFF’s Night Out at the Oscars event is this Sunday, March 7 at 6:30pm held in the Veterans Memorial Auditorium located on One Avenue of the Art in Providence, Rhode Island. Tickets are $55 and should be reserved in advance by visiting rifilmfest.org, or calling (401) 861-4445. Guests are scheduled to arrive at 6:30pm followed by a buffet dinner at 8pm, catered by Temple Restaurant, and at 9:30pm the festivities will conclude for the night.

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A Few New Announcements

As promised, I’ve a few new announcements regarding the future of The Northwest Passage film and Hole In The Wall Productions in general.  While some of these announcements are still in their infancy and I’m guarding them with cautious optimism, there’s one very exciting development I’m anxious to share with you now.

The wonderful success of this summer’s expedition to and through The Northwest Passage aboard my boat Bagan, a Nordhavn 57, showed me many marvelous things, not the least of which being… I need a bigger boat.  Bagan was wonderful but trying to edit the footage aboard was problematic. My ultimate dream has always been to have an expedition trawler large enough I could have a dedicated edit suite aboard.  Basically, my dream would be to have  Hole In The Wall Production be a floating production facility.

While recently at Pacific Asian Enterprises (Nordhavn headquarters) in Dana Point, CA, I met with Dan Streech and Larry Gieselman to try and figure out a way this could best be accomplished; a larger research ship.  It was then that Dan and Larry rolled out some drawings of Jeff Leishman’s latest design, the stunning Nordhavn 63.  Not one to mince words; the design was perfect.  What truly sealed the deal in my mind was that forward of  the engine room Jeff had designed in a “utility room” which would be a perfect edit facility for me.  Dan, Larry and I spent the better part of a day massaging layouts (and numbers) to try and assure the complete feasibility of this project.  By mid-day on the second day we came to an agreement, I listed (bitter/sweet) Bagan with Nordhavn’s brokerage and, taking a very deep breath, am moving ahead with the Nordhavn 63 project.  I have said it repeatedly in these blogs and will state again; there simply is no better boat or company in existence for providing Hole In The Wall Productions and myself a working platform and home.  As you know,  this summer we put Bagan to the most extreme of tests and she didn’t miss a beat nor suffer a ding. Chasing after the extreme maritime documentaries that I do, doing so on a larger Nordhavn is one of the easiest and sanest choices I could make.  To be moving into a larger “research” ship is, as I said, a dream come true, to be in partnership with Nordhavn on this project is the proverbial icing on the cake.

As I intimated in the first paragraph, there’re a few more very exciting announcements coming but want to make sure all the proverbial “t”’s are crossed and “i”s dotted before I post them!

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Theobald named “Intelligent Optimist” by Ode Magazine

Sprague Theobald, an Emmy Award winning filmmaker and founder of Hole in the Wall Productions, is an optimist because he believes the power of education and imagination through film will positively benefit the people of the world.

Sprague, a respectable self-motivated individual and father of three, has been involved in television, film and literature for over 30 years. Beginning his career in front of the camera, Sprague found it far more interesting and challenging behind. Sprague has dedicated his life towards directing and producing documentary films that educate others of political, cultural and environmental issues everywhere from Zanzibar to the Arctic Circle.

To read the full Ode Magazine article click here.

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Arctic Explorer, Boat and Crew to be Spotlight Exhibit at 2010 Seattle Boat Show


Emmy award-winning filmmaker Sprague Theobald and his Nordhavn 57 at South Lake Union after 5 month epic journey through Northwest Passage.

Seattle – The Seattle Boat Show, Indoors + Afloat, (www.seattleboatshow.com) is pleased to announce that the renowned 57-foot Nordhavn, Bagan, which took owner Sprague Theobald safely through the Northwest Passage on a five month epic journey, will be a feature exhibit at the 2010 Seattle Boat Show January 29-February 6, 2010.  Bagan will be showcased on the water at South Lake Union and highlights will include tours of Bagan given by members of the crew responsible for bringing the vessel across the Arctic Circle – a feat accomplished by very few private boats. Each person that takes a tour will also receive a DVD with video footage from this extraordinary adventure. Additionally Theobold will be conducting seminars at Qwest Field Event Center  throughout the nine day show where he’ll focus on the craziest, scariest and most exhilarating moments of the trip.

For additional information about the boatshow event Contact:
Lisa Samuelson, Samuelson Communications , Cell: 206-954-2574, lisa@samuelsoncom.com

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There is good news all around us and the project

It’s been a little over a month since we landed in Seattle and while things have slowed down for us considerably, we’re not without some great news.  First, the crew:

Dominique is aboard Bagan, running the program from Seattle.  Bagan came through our five month trek basically without a scratch.  The few small repairs and upkeep that she’s in need of are being overseen by Dom and I rest easy knowing that all 57 tons of her are in excellent hands.

Chauncey has gone back to Denver and is studying for the entrance exams for  his Master’s Degree in Business.  We chat often and we both agree that being back in the “real” world has been an “odd” adjustment.

Sefton is also back in Denver and will be picking up where he left off at The University of Colorado, Denver. He’s planning on moving into a business major but will be “minoring” in music.

As you may remember, Greg has been back here in RI for quite a while now catching up where he left off with his business Aquidneck Mooring Company.

I’m back here in Newport, trying to catch up and stay one step ahead.  When you leave on a trip of this extent, no matter how well you think you have all the bases covered there are always a few small items which, in your prolonged absence, grow rapidly into large, snarling, growling issues.  I think I can speak for all of us when I say when we find that we’re having one of “those” days we can manage a smile and think “At least I’m not stuck in the ice in The Passage!”.

And “Bagan”, that wonderfully amazing vessel who so bravely got us to and through The Northwest Passage (Georgs Kolesnikovs writes in Circumnavigator Magazine http://www.trawlersandtrawlering.com/ that she is the first production powerboat to do the trip) has been invited to strut her stuff and be on display in the Seattle Boat Show late January.  If you’re in the neighborhood here’s more info about the show: http://www.seattleboatshow.com

As promised in the last blog, there is good news all around us and the project.  I can offer one small tidbit without divulging too much; with some luck and a bit of hard work, you may soon be able to watch our experience of this past summer on something other than your computer screen.  I’ll stop with that as I’ve said too much!

Also, today I received an email from Peter Janssen at MotorBoating Magazine  (Peter and MotorBoating published four articles which I wrote during the trip.  If you haven’t had a chance to read them try to hunt them down as they contain some amazing pictures which I don’t think we have on this site):

From Peter:

“Hi Sprague,

Just FYI, I entered your story Mission Accomplished in the Boating Writers International awards competition… Keep your fingers crossed. They announce the winners at the Miami show in February…


More later!!

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More Final Thoughts (hopefully there’ll never truly be a final thought).

The Northwest Passage

Since we’ve tied up at Elliott Bay Marina on the 5th,, there’ve been four very exciting events which directly effect Hole In The Wall Productions, all the efforts of this past summer, as well as our future.  As much as I hate to say this (actually, I do it with great joy)…WATCH THIS SPACE!

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A Few Final Thoughts…

Zodiac Aasiaat7-25-09_7846

We saw Russia and the U.S. at the same time and came within 900 miles of the North Pole. We visited Greenland and Alaska in the same summer & on the same boat. We saw the water temp go from 70 degrees to 30.5 We dodged icebergs in two major oceans.  We went as far north as 75N, traveled 1/3rd of the way around the world and cruised 8,500 nautical miles through eight different time zones. Bagan sailed three oceans in one summer, traveled further west than Hawaii and last but not least, transited from the east coast to the west cost via The Northwest Passage.

In all of this we also witnessed and enjoyed one of the more amazing creations this world has to offer; The Wagner family’s world famous “Dump Cake”, an amazing concoction of almost all things sweet and edible and guaranteed to provide you with an extra pound or two!  One crew member who I’m glad I didn’t have to tell you about (but am very happy to do so now) is Dr. Phil Wagner, the expedition’s resident doctor.  I met Phil this past winter when I was battling the Little Toe From Hell.  During one of my doctor appointments with Phil we got to talking about the trip to The Passage and by the end of that day I was emailing him asking him if he’d consider being our doctor on call. He very graciously accepted the invitation, spent many, many hours assembling our ship’s medical kit and gave Dominique a very detailed, one day course on just about any emergency which could pop up.  It was a always comfort  knowing that Phil was literally a phone call away, a call that I’m very happy to say we never had to make.  Thank you Phil and family!!

I also want to take a quick moment to thank all of you who posted comments and kept cheering us on.  Even for those of you who didn’t post, knowing that you were out there with us in your thoughts, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You were every bit as responsible in helping make this trip the wonderful success that is was.

For the detractors and naysayers about out trip, all I can say is I’m sorry you felt this way. I think had you taken the time to personally reach out and communicate with me rather than simply post discouraging comments and negative words on other chat sites, it would have done wonders for all of us.  Please know that as each of the wonderfully supportive emails we received inspired us on, hearing about those who challenged my decisions to do this trip, without actually having the honesty and courage to get in touch with me, was very detrimental to the effort.  I simply can not fathom why a person would post and say derogatory things without making the effort to get in touch with me personally. There is and always will be anonymous safety behind a computer screen.

In the end, I simply could not be more proud (prouder?) of my crew, Chauncey, Dominique, Sefton and Greg.  They performed above and beyond my wildest expectations.  I truly love these people. They are modern day heroes and I will forever regard them as such.  The fact that Chaunce and Dom are my stepchildren and Sefton my son is simply icing on the cake! They fulfilled the dream. As for Bagan, we put her through her paces and she brought us home without a scratch.

I would not have done this trip on any other boat or with any other crew!

“This isn’t the end, nor is it the beginning of the end.
In fact, it’s simply the end of the beginning.”

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Elliott Bay Marina


Today, at 5:30 PST, we tied up to the docks at Elliot bay Marina, shut down the engine on Bagan, and officially finished what we started out June 16th from Newport, RI to do. We traveled to, transited through and came back from The Northwest Passage.  Thank you ALL for being such wonderfully supportive blog readers.  To know that you were out there cheering us on means more than words can say.  Bed beckons, but much more later!

- Sprague, Chauncey, Dominique and Sefton

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For anyone who’s interested, weather permitting, we plan to arrive at Elliot Bay Marina tomorrow November 6, between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m….weather permitting!

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It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over



Since we left Ketchikan we’ve been managing to keep one step, sometimes two steps ahead of some gale force and full gale force winds.  Last night we found an, according to one cruising guide, anchorage that was safe from all winds, a “very secure anchorage”, in that its entrance was a bit circuitous and once in, was a small and secure hole protected on all sides by steep walls of pines.  At 5:00 this morning some very clever winds broke through this ring of security and we were battered by 30-40 kts winds which caused us to drag, slowly but surely, towards a rocky shore. Letting out more scope was beyond the question as had we had done this we would have been on the shore.  So, in the complete darkness we had to raise the anchor, and find our way out all the while being battered and swung about by the building “breeze”.  We did eventually exit the wash bowl but not without two or three very close calls with rocks and an unforgiving coastline.  What was waiting outside for us in the Finlayson Channel was a bit worse in that these winds topped 50kts.  We had no choice but to leave as resetting the hook in the darkness was impossible. Happy to say that we’re now tucked away in another secure anchorage, but this one has an easy out.  By the way, after we finally clawed our way out of the anchorage Dominique said, “That was right up there with the ice.” We all agreed. 450 more miles to Seattle.

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