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Desert Runners

From Chile to China, Egypt to Antarctica, four non-professional runners challenge themselves to complete the 4 Deserts Grand Slam, a combination of the world’s most punishing, extreme ultramarathons.
Schedule
May 23, 2014
Friday
6:30 PM SIFF Cinema Uptown Date has passed

Director Jennifer Steinman scheduled to attend

May 24, 2014
Saturday
1:00 PM Harvard Exit Date has passed

Director Jennifer Steinman scheduled to attend

There are marathon runners and then there are the four ultramarathon runners who form the heart of Jennifer Steinman’s dynamic and suspenseful documentary. Steinman focuses on the Grand Slam—four desert marathons across the dunes and tundras of Chile’s Atacama, China’s Gobi, Egypt’s Sahara, and Antarctica over the course of one year. The racers, who hail from 35 countries, range in age from 25-year-old Samantha, a law student from Melbourne, to 56-year-old Dave, a marketing manager from Cork. If Ricky, a London-based American management consultant, works in a conventional office, Tremaine, a British security specialist, spends his days teaching fighting techniques, but all share a passion for running. Dave sees it as a way to keep old age at bay, while Tremaine runs in memory of his late wife, but everyone has his or her own reasons. While running through blazing heat and freezing cold, the competitors battle dehydration, heatstroke, blisters, and worse. In addition, they must carry all their necessities on their backs, but since finishing trumps winning, friendships also form along the way. The risks, however, are substantial enough that what might seem brave and inspiring to some will seem downright lunatic to others.

Director Biography

Co-founder of the film production company Smush Media, Jennifer Steinman has over 18 years of experience in television and filmmaking. She began her career as a staff Editor at CBS, both in New York and San Francisco. Her feature directorial debut, Motherland, had its world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival in 2009, winning the Emerging Visions Audience Award.

Sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Company, Inc.

Director: Jennifer Steinman
Country: USA
Year: 2013
Running Time: 95 minutes
Producer: Jennifer Steinman, Diana Parker, Yael Melamede
Cinematographers: Sevan Matossian
Editors: Jessica Congdon
Music: Eric Holland
Website: Official Film Website
Awards: Vancouver International Film Festival 2013 (Most Popular International Documentary), Hamptons International Film Festival 2013 (Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature)
Filmography: Motherland (Doc, 2009)
Language: English
Format: DCP
US Distributor: Cargo Film & Releasing
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