After a childhood of ‘world-schooing,’ I worked REALLY hard and earned a scholarship and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California film school and University of California Berkeley where I studied archeology and anthropology.
My short thesis film Rita, a Himalayan adventure showing how I got my first taste of being inside a school at Mt. Everest won international acclaim at numerous film festivals including Telluride, where I went on to win again the next year with my Moroccan Surf Adventure Film: Snaked! — all my films I produce, direct, shot, edited, and host/act in.
At twenty-three, I completed my own first feature length documentary “INCANtations” which also earned me international recognition after premiering at Patagonia’s Wild and Scenic Film Festival.
I had the honor of being named one of the top 25 college filmmakers by MTV and my film Rita was nominated for an MTV movie award. It was incredible also be honored by Meryl Streep for being one of the top emerging female film makers. I also was excited to work on Hollywood blockbuster Eat Pray Love since Ketut Liyer was my painting teacher growing up and the movie was filmed in the same house in the village in Bali where I spent many of my childhood years.
After graduating from film school, I decided to combine my love for filmmaking, acting, and exploration and create a new media storytelling series called Alison’s Adventures to share my experiences with you through films, photos, books, and even inspirational speaking. And now, with the honor of the title ‘The Female version of Indiana Jones’ by Time Magazine (except with a camera and my pink surfboard made from recycled coffee cups), I journey into ancient cultures seeking out the greatest myths, mysteries, and legends, not to mention sharing the secrets of survival, sustainability, and happiness.
Throughout my adventures, I have discovered that our most valuable treasure on earth is water. Reefs are the rainforests of the sea and provide most of the world’s oxygen, and I’ve witnessed firsthand the detrimental effects from toxic sunscreens, plastic pollution, and climate change. Although my adventures are memorable, it is the impact that each quest has on the world that fuels my soul. For example, exposing trash island helped lead a world wide plastic cleanup, making a film on our dying reefs in Hawaii was instrumental in banning toxic sunscreens, and diving with top scientists for the oldest human skeletons in the Americas revealed important information on climate change.
From Trash Island in the Maldives, to the rivers of Los Angeles, to home sweet Hawaii and the beautiful cenotes in Mexico, water is under threat by the people who need it most—us.
Watch my Ted Talk.