Category Archives: DakarLOG

DakarLOG – Final Fantasy | 2010 Dakar Rally

This is where it all stands:

I am anxiously awaiting the fate of my great little story as it now stands up against the GREAT BIG WORLD of IMAX.

A few months ago, I had put a call in to ASO, the Dakar Rally’s organizing body.  I was informed that IMAX had signed the theatrical rights for the 2010 Dakar Rally, but it was confirmed that the broadcast rights were still available for my 2010 Dakar documentary which focuses on Mark Miller’s drive to win the 2010 Dakar Rally.  So, I proceeded with seeking co-production partners and financing.

2 weeks ago, I was engaged in discussions with a producer of the 2010 Dakar Rally IMAX.  I initially called thinking I was extending a greeting, offering support or advice to their production:

“We may be going in as two separate production camps, but when the rally gets going it’s mass chaos and the the nature of rally culture is to look out for one another – even if you are on separate teams,” I chirped.

Well, the results of that conversation were a little more than eye opening.  Good and bad news…

Bad news first.  In their understanding, our storylines conflicted and mine would violate the agreement/licensing contract they signed with ASO back in 2008.

Translation: no 2010 documentary for me.

Good news: IMAX would try to find a spot for me on their crew…  IF they could fit me in this late in the game.

Today, I just put a call in to ASO to confirm where my project stands up against the 2010 Dakar Rally IMAX production contract.  Email is waiting in their inbox…

Either way – I just want Mark Miller’s story documented.  One day, 3 years ago, Mark told me a little story about the Dakar, and it wasn’t the rally he talked about…

mark miller

There was something else – something so powerful.  Something that would inspire more than a winning title.  It is this story I hope reaches an audience the same way it reached me.  It reached inside me and inspired me to dream – dream a little bigger and never quit.

I also met a few other racers over these past 3 years, whose stories also shifted me, moved me.  One namely, another North American, Jonah Street, who I have also set under my documentary’s wing.

I shall know in the next 24-48 hours how much life is left in my own Dakar Rally dream, my documentary – but I hope in the end, regardless of outcome, that if it isn’t me to carry Mark’s story – I only hope that someone does.

It’s a great story and I can’t wait to see how the end is written – I hope someone is there to capture the core moments.

It’s gonna be a hell of a ride – the ride of a lifetime.  I guess only time will tell what happens between IMAX, ASO and me.



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Posted by on September 1, 2009 in DakarLOG


DakarLOG – Rally Tunisia Libya 2009 invite | Miracle

April 19, 2009 – 9:00am – Marseille, France

Writing this, the time and location, it all seems a little too unreal.  Just one week ago, I had a completely  different week planned for myself.  One of reflection, redirection and a new beginning.  One that would put me on the road to my parent’s cabin in British Columbia’s Kootney Lake for a few weeks.  One that was to turn me and my film career (if you could call it that just yet) from the off-road adventures of “Chasing the Desert” – which had become more like a black comedy of sorts – and back in to the writers seat for a while, to dream of a few new beginnings and hack at a few of the old ones…  Time to start over again, time to start fresh.

That lasted all of 24 hours, as all my grand plans seem to these days, right up till  3pm on Easter Sunday…  Sitting on the beach at Crab Park, Vancouver, just outside my Gastown loft, another call to adventure – actually something larger than that, dropped into my iPhone from France, beckoning me back overseas, back into action, offering me up my one last shot at recovering from an unpredictable and unfortunate turn of events back in January of 2008.

On January 4th, 2008, an event, a story…  a dream I risked far to much on an idea of an experience and that experience ended up becoming far different than I could ever have expected.  Fact is, the event never ended up happening.  The event was the legendary Dakar Rally, a 15 day, 5000KM endurance and navigation rally race through Europe and Northern Africa.  But on January 4th and 12 noon, the rally became more than a legend – it wrote history.  12 hours prior to the start of it’s 30th edition, the race organizers cancelled the entire rally after a series of terrorist actions in Mauritania the week before which culminated with deaths of French tourists over the Christmas holiday.

The famous Paris-Dakar Rally had become the flagship of off-road rallies for professional and amateur racer and everyone stood that day, lost.

I stood there that day lost and broken, and literally broke.  I, like many of the competitors, gave everything to be in the rally even just once in a lifetime, to be a part of this seemingly unstoppable event that many only dream of setting foot inside of.  Like the Titanic, this event sank and not all had access to lifeboats to make it ashore.  A part in all of us died that day.  Not just a childhood dream, but a belief that anything is possible… that if one is strong enough, courageous enough, give enough, one can live a dream.

We all risked more than most would to get there and like in that nightmare poker game, all saw it swiftly disappear when the cards hit the table on the first hand.  I alone was out my day job, roughly $50,000, 8 months of production and no way to get home to Canada.  I’m an independent filmmaker, this was to be my first documentary that I was self funding at that point and my insurance didn’t cover an event cancellation – no one’s did.  I am still one of the lucky ones with only bankruptcy staring at me on the near horizon…

Jump ahead 6 months…

I guess I am a little crazy, or so I thought at Easter, but a competing race organization to the Dakar Rally contacted me to assist them in securing a North American broadcaster to air their daily race summaries and to introduce their 10 day rally in Tunisia and Libya to a North American audience.  Basically what I have been fighting so hard and long to do with the Dakar Rally for 2 and a half years now.  This offer was different.  They turned the tables and instead of the 20,000 Euro entry fees and the 20,000 Euro license and rights fees, this organization had just invited me out AND offered both my footage and their footage for free – no cost.  A bit of a shocker on Easter afternoon (I am starting to like the Easter Bunny for more than the rice-crispy-chocolate treat in bunny form) – and a lot unexpected as I would have to be on a plane in 4 days to France to catch the boat…

So, do I give up everything again?  Risk my own sanity again?  Walkaway from my family who I was going to meet at the lake?  My friends who I had committed to plans with?  Myself and this so called life I keep trying to wrangle up and set on a sane course?  Will things wait for me this time when before they slipped through my fingers?  What will 3 weeks from my life look like this time, especially since I seem to be in a vortex of very odd occurrences as it is?

One thing it did mean – ok, 2 things…

#1: I will have the professional footage I need to complete an amazing documentary on my own personal journey chasing the Dakar Rally  AND have more than enough for an incredible episodic pilot that would lead up to both the Moroccan Rally AND the Dakar 2010 Rally to sell to a North American broadcaster.

#2: Originally, before the documentary was even conceived, I was just writing a feature dramatic film with the rally event as a backdrop to a brother story.  All I initially wanted was to participate in the rally to write the most realistic action sport adventure script possible…

This Easter egg….  this Easter Miracle…  just put me back in the driver’s seat and into the heart of the African desert and into the heart of an endurance and navigation rally.  This means that at the end of the most trying and difficult creative, financial, personal and professional journey I have ever taken to this point in my life…  I am given back more than just my first little dream when I thought it was long lost.  I am given the chance to finish my dramatic feature film script that I started over 2 and a half years ago…  and, I am given the chance to give back.

So, what did I do?  I put everything on the line again.  My day job, friends, family, my health…  my life.  Of course this time I called everyone before hand because this would have to be something I can share and celebrate on my return.  It’s no longer my journey – me, my family and friends have all invested to much to date and this is my last shot at finding an end to a story long over due.

That little dream I watched die away on January 4th, 2008, has come back to life.  It looks a little different, but it feels right.  I think there is something exciting we can do with this.  For me, my project and for the desert.  I may be filing for bankruptcy this week (funny to do from France), but all my work and what I ultimately envisioned, still has a fighting chance…

The boat to Tunisia leaves tomorrow from the Port in Marseille.  I am sitting in my hotel recovering from a fever break at 39 degrees celcius just a day ago in the Frankfurt Airport, but I am recovering, charging my batteries and holding onto the hope that this time – it’s the right time for this little story of mine.




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Lucky Break, Pecha Kucha, Skewed Mag

It’s been a busy beginning to 2009, mostly around settling into my new digs, playing with the locals, ending the “Lucky Break” streak and taking everything to date (the last 2 years) onto the stage in Vancouver for one whirlwind night that took my breath away, literally…

The OFFICIAL end of the “Lucky Break”, February 20 2009littlelucky1

With the Dakar Rally focus set to 2010, I finally made a date with my surgeon and after waiting 2 years, had the bionic elements removed in February and I am back to being 100% human again – sort of…

2 years earlier –>  Lucky Break to the Baja 500



Me, my filmmaking life, Gastown and my Vancouver Gastown Loft are featured in a 7 page layout in the Studio edition of UBC’s online magazine. A wonderful lady, Ms Lexa Naicu, was just as crazy over pigs with wings from Salt Tasting Room as I was… “When Pigs Fly.”

“Working in the right space can make all the difference, and for the past couple of months we’ve been looking into different artists and their creative spaces. And so for our fourth edition we’re giving it a  theme: The Studio Issue. ”

Check it out online –>  SKEWED MAGAZINE, March/April

Pecha Kucha Night, “The Little Dream”, March 26 2009, Vancouver

I had the amazing experience of speaking at Vancouver’s 5th edition of Pecha Kucha Night.


It is a “mix of show-and-tell, open-mike night and happy hour, it has become the forum for ideas on design, culture and a lot else that has swept the world in just four years now having taken place in over 180 cities globally.”

For “The Little Dream” Slide Photos  —>  Click here


In just 6 minutes and 40 seconds, I take you into “The Little Dream” and takes on a 2 year journey with a live audience, Fast cars, globetrotting, terrorists and some “hot scenes”. This is a “Little Dream” that leaves us with a endless universe of possibilities…”

For “The Little Dream” video –>  “The Little Dream” – Pecha Kucha Night – Vancouver from CFilmGirl on Vimeo.


“Pronounced “peh-cha-ku-cha’’,  Each presenter is allowed 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds each – giving 6 minutes 40 seconds of fame before the next presenter is up. This keeps presentations concise, the interest level up, and gives more people the chance to show.”

Check here for YOUR city –> Pecha Kucha Night


So, if you watched the video, you will know that I am rolling up my sleeves this year and making the most out of this Little Dream I had one day, taking what I’ve got in my hands,  2 great projects, a life in a great neighbourhood and taking it all one (or 2) steps at a time.

See you out there on the streets, in the desert and somewhere completely lost in between!


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Posted by on April 1, 2009 in DakarLOG, EventLOG, FilmLOG, ShawnaLOG, WOOT


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NewsREEL – 2009 Dakar Rally Documentary | Canceled

Well, it has been a journey – a 2 year journey facing the 2008 Dakar Rally cancelation and now the 2009 Dakar Rally Documentary… Cancelation.

No filming in the 2009 Dakar Rally for this film girl.  Yup.  Cancelation.  I didn’t see that one coming.  2 years in a row, some odds!

I would like to wish Mark Miller, driver (with Team Volkswagen Motorsport) and Jonah Street, Motorcycle rider (with Team Rally Pan Am) – the best of luck in the 2009 Dakar Rally.  They both have the heart and the mind to make history this year to be the first North Americans to capture a Dakar winning title.  Mark and Jonah were the main subjects of the Documentary and a director’s dream…  Two very humble and genuinely talented men.  Both are inspirations on so many levels.

mark miller

I wish a special thanks to Mark Miller.  

He’s got his head on right…   

In one his first emails, 3 simple words set the stage for the whole last 2 years of chasing the desert…  “enjoy the journey.”  

From that, it was easy to understand that it wasn’t the win that was driving this dream.  Many of us spend so much time ‘chasing the desert’ or chasing our dreams that we can’t see that we are already lost in the middle of it!  Mark is lost in the middle of it all and loves every moment.  Even if he wins, he has his heart set on the next adventure…  Something about a 2008 Baja 1000 race with his North American home team and a recent Jetta Series he built from the ground up where he mentors young drivers.  Something about setting his sights on home…  Mark helped me to see how to navigate the desert and endure it’s tests but most of all, not lose sight of the big picture – that journey home.  

Thanks Mark, for inspiring my journey. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on November 16, 2008 in DakarLOG, WOOT


DakarLOG – chasing dreams | the ‘real’ story

dreams are interesting
once they come to life, they are different
they are no longer dreams.
poking holes in the future

poking holes in the future

Never stop – ever.
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Posted by on October 22, 2008 in DakarLOG, ShawnaLOG, TravelLOG


DakarREEL – CFG LIVE in Morocco | Map Film-bites

Shawna Cox | CFG is…  on Facebook.  “Be my friend – and HANG ON!” for photos of Baja 500, 1000, The Dakar Rally and every ADVENTURE inbetween and behind the scenes… 

Indie and Adventure Filming and Event info?  Join the Canadian Film Girl | CFG Facebook Fan Page

2008 Dakar Rally Race Route, Morocco, October 2008: Making of “Chasing the Desert”…  

Escaping Flash floods, desert nights, Canadian Girls racing hidden trails, deep inside the ‘Medina’ of Marrakech, hot diggity scarabs and a wee-bit-of night dune driving (and running the battery down…)??

–>>  “Where’s Shawna on the map?”

–>>  Shawna’s Video Diary:


Canadian Film Girl | CFG, Shawna Cox

Canadian Film Girl | CFG, Shawna Cox


Who knew I would ever sit in the middle of the desert at night and be filming, editing and uploading daily film-bites.  1 HDV camera, 2 VIO-POV 1 car cams, 1 Mac laptop, 1 Iritrack GPS tracker, 1 crazy group of Canadians, 1 4×4, and 1 satellite way up in the sky (@ 7 euros a megabite, I might add = $200 + per 2 minute video)

where in the world is CFG....

where in the world is CFG....

I am on my last two days on the trail after a whirlwind 2 days in Cannes, France for the MIPCOM film market, then a midnight flight to Marrakech, Morocco.  I am currently on day 6???  …I think, and will be touching ground in Madrid, London, Toronto and finally home to Vancouver by next monday.  
I have been racing around Morocco, chasing Mark Miller’s Dakar Rally past  (Mark ends up in Morocco basically just as I leave…  timing) for the background for the 2009 Dakar Rally Documentary – the old Dakar Rally trail.  
I currently have a live map following our journey (the same iritrack as used on Dakar for the racers) as well as daily 2 minute film bites.  IRC stepped up to the plate to embed media into their live race maps – this is the first test.  
The tracker didn’t get started until 2 days into the trip, but the videos have been going well – uploading via satilite from the middle of the desert…  who knew.  (Rob!  what happened to video # 002 ??? 😉  

Thanks for keeping up with me, hot on the trail of Mark Miller (Team Volkswagen) and the 2009 Dakar Rally…

Good night from afar.


Posted by on October 21, 2008 in DakarLOG, EventLOG, FilmLOG, TravelLOG


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DakarLOG – LIVE in Morocco | GPS and Video…

Shawna is in Morocco – live map & video soon (24 hours or less) at

crappy internet – can’t chat!


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Posted by on October 17, 2008 in DakarLOG, TravelLOG, WOOT


Morocco Transmission #4 – Full Moon

Oct 14, 2008 – Day 4 chasing the desert.

A full moon in Morocco tonight. There’s more to tell. More to this story. There’s more to tell. More to this story. That is in my blackbook. I will publish that when I am home. Funny thing how I set out to capture one story. Not so funny thing how it all unfolds into a story that I am wish I could escape from. Chasing the Dakar Rally seems like a walk in the park over navigating this trip I’m on. I wish I could wake up from this.

10 day trip to Morocco to trace the steps of past Dakar Rally legends – Daily Satellite uploads and Live GPS tracking.

Day 4: Night Desert driving and sleeping on a dune.

sample opening footage for the Dakar Rally Documentary Project

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Posted by on October 14, 2008 in BlackBOOKS, DakarLOG, FilmLOG, TravelLOG


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DakarLOG – Pat’s 2008 Morocco Trek Log 03 | Route

pat trahan Mon, Oct 6, 2008 at 10:22 PM
Reply-To: pat trahan
To: shawna cox
Hi Shawna, cool for the room, I think you will like it!! :)Ok here a little bit about our route.. I am still working on the coordinates. But it is very flexible.. We can change it at any moment!! it is a proposed route!
13 – Arrival Patrick – Marrak. Get stuff ready – Riad
14 – Arrival Shawna – night in marrak – Riad
15 – Day in Marrak – Going to Rally rose des sables – Night in Bivouac of organisation
16 – Going to a CP to film continue Liason North – lots of KM – Night in small village
17 – Going on the Dakar route – Night on Bivouac
18 – Sand dunes in Erfoud – Bivouac in the big Dunes – Camel Trek
19 – Going South on the Dakar route – Night in Small Village
20 – Going south to Agadir – Night at my friend Surf Camp
21 – Day at the beach surf lesson, going to Marrak – Night in Marrak
22 – Day in Marrak – bring back 4×4 – transfer to aeroportI will send you more detail on a map once I am done…
Do you need cofee in the morning?
Are you alergic to any food?
Do you like wine, Pastis, hihi. Just checking.
Bring emodium, tylenol, etc

Talk to you soon


shawna cox  Mon, Oct 6, 2008 at 10:56 PM
To: pat trahan
are we close to the fossil pit / rock pit Mark Miller mentioned?  🙂  I like fossils….  🙂  Want to go there…. 😦

All looks good – are we camping in the small villages? What’s the accommodation like there – home stays? $$?  desert camping is cool still too.
What’s ‘Pastis’?  Coffee would be good, but not neccessary – NOT TIM HORTONS!  HA!
No allergies – Just not a lot of Dairy or sweet things.  Looking forward to good staples of camping and the desert and Morocco.  Nothing super fancy – simpler is better for me.  Wine is good, but not a lot as I can react to the sulfides – what ever Moroccans drink.
Map will be cool to post on the blog!
pat trahan <> Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 5:59 AM
To: shawna cox
Yes we will go to the fossil pit!  In the small village we either will have to get a cheap hostel, 10 euro per niight or go further. I never camp near villages. But if you like bivouac that is good too. We stop at the village get the food and drink and go out in the desert! I prefer that.
You will have the time of your life, I hope you will like the desert as much as I love it!!
I can’t wait.
It will be very simple for camping because I cant bring much in my luggage and we cannot buy camping equipment there.
Talk to you soonPat
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Posted by on October 13, 2008 in DakarLOG, FilmLOG, TravelLOG


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DakarLOG – Support, Satellites and wishful Safe returns | Go Live

“Shawna Cox wonders if she can GO LIVE VIDEO in Morocco – needs SATELLITE assistance!!”

Facebook has done something horrible – it turned a genuinely fun day at Cafe Beano in Calgary – a once a month thing where a few of us would do this silly and oddly swanky thing where we would only talk in the 3rd person to one another….  ok, you are thinking that didn’t we have much to do – well, we did, but this was that mild form of entertainment that kept us all giggling and made us think a bit different on that day than on any other given day.

Enter ‘FAcebook’.  

yup – with iPhone in hand, 3rd person day has become almost everyday.  I found myself hiking, thinking “Shawna thinks this moss is interesting…”  I stopped and thought “wow, who is talking?”  It’s all of the sudden like  I am a director in my own personal movie, with the commentary that one can turn ‘on’ or ‘off’ on the DVD extras.

I was wondering “who really thinks what I am doing is so interesting?”.  I guess I do – cause I was commenting on it.  Maybe it made me really SEE and be AWARE of what I was doing.  Maybe I was just getting closer to borderline crazy (most likely)…  

Or, Maybe…  Someone else out there may find what I am doing, interesting.  Facebook posts these mini-feeds.  These mini-feeds become a REAL thread.  A snapshot into your friends lives.  A little voyeuristic, but hey, we DO POST photos and thoughts and feelings FREELY for others to ‘SEE’.  Not so private, but SO VERY PUBLIC.   

Today, I updated my profile “what are you doing right now?” with this:

“Shawna Cox wonders if she can GO LIVE VIDEO in Morocco – needs SATELLITE assistance!!”

My facebook world responded back.  Mostly email messages – from more people than I thought were actually interested.

Here’s one response:

Wherever you’re going,whoever your with,whatever the hell is going on whether good or bad, Be careful!..You are such a strong person,and I want you to come back all in one piece, because we are destined to meet some day,somewhere even if only for a few minutes. Just a few wouldn’t be fair, though would it? Love ya’ ; p

And my response back – funny, I didn’t know this is where I was really at until I responded to my friend from afar…

I am only doing what I know and that is ‘to just keep going’ – and I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE I AM GOING! – I think we would always hit the day when we said “I wish I would have”. I can’t believe I am saying this, but I would rather try than fail than to know that I didn’t even try at all. damn that’s corny, until you are faced with it full on. In the end it is only me who can walk through that door first, so that others can and will follow. I know I am not doing it alone – i know everyone is behind me. Including you. Thanks for being there every step of the way. Thank you for your great and supportive words. Paths will cross, that is just how the world seems to work these days…

hugs s

I think in School, we are always trying to be cool, to fit in, to have a purpose that is clear and a status of some sort of importance or relevance.  I am 35 years old, feel like I have none of the above.  

All I have is this beat inside me that doesn’t stop and I somehow can’t shake it’s message…  I guess out of all those 35 years, I don’t think I learned a thing, cause everything I am doing is going FLAT OUT again ALL COMMON SENSE.  

Somewhere, early on, someone told me that I could be anything I wanted and do anything I wanted.  Somehow, that seems to be my default – NO IDAE WHERE IT CAME FROM (so I will blame my parents).  Not Fight or Flight response, but a ‘KEEP DREAMING’ response.  And the closer I get to feeling like it’s all about to fall away, I wake up with something beating inside me.

 “just one more day…  I can do it…”  

I don’t want to wake up if it means my life is anything other than what I have created to this date.  Yes, there are things I am missing, yes, there are things I am envious of, but DAMN YES, in some burnt-out way, I still wake up thinking…

“maybe today…”



I still have hope.  Maybe, just maybe – this is what my life is to be.  One continuous journey – no start and no end.  Just all the hope of life and love inbetween.

Thank you to everyone that has made me feel sane.  For a moment, a second, or just in passing.  

This is your journey as much as it is mine – thank you for sharing the trail.

I am trying to wrangle a video upload from Morocco.  Believe it or not – it’s a bit tougher than from the Dakar Rally.  I will do what I can – try some services from the UK.  If you know anyone, send them my way.

Sweet dreams and see you in Morocco.



Posted by on October 5, 2008 in DakarLOG, ShawnaLOG, TravelLOG

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