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This is a first-of-its-kind documentary spanning the Self-Transcendence 3100 Miler, the Navajo, Bushmen and Japanese Marathon Monks.
This is a first-of-its-kind documentary spanning the Self-Transcendence 3100 Miler, the Navajo, Bushmen and Japanese Marathon Monks.
454 backers pledged $78,246 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$78,246

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Update:

We all did it! So, can we use more? To be honest, even though there are only 2 days left, we could always use a bit more. 

So we're announcing a stretch goal of $80,000.

We "lose" about 5% of the total amount pledged as fees to Kickstarter and their payment partners. We also anticipate putting about 3% toward fulfilling rewards. So, a little more won't hurt. If for some crazy reason we get a huge influx, we'll be able to put that towards our festival premiere and the associated expenses, like PR.

Thanks!

Oh, if you haven't already seen, we were featured in Men's Health! Click here to read.

Quick Synopsis

We embedded with amazing indigenous ultra-runners to bring you a cinematic expression of why we all love to run. We travelled to the highlands of Japan, the Kalahari Desert in Africa, the Navajo Nation in Arizona, the forests of Finland and the streets of NYC (the famed Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Run)  to capture the esoteric, spiritual side of running. 

We shot the film in narrative (non-fiction) style and weave our stories together in such a natural way that we're sure this film will be unlike any sports documentary ever made.

We've completed all filming and need your help to finish editing the film, doing a sound mix, composing music and doing color correction.

Our Bushman character preparing for a hunt.
Our Bushman character preparing for a hunt.

Overview

Like many runners, we were inspired by the 2009 book Born to Run. But we wanted to hear even more about the deepest spiritual traditions of exceptional indigenous runners from around the world. We wondered if we could, first of all, find runners that actually embodied the ancient esoteric approach to running and then earn their trust.

But first ... a 3100 Mile Race??

The most elusive, elite multi-day race in the world, the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race, takes place in Queens, New York City each summer and demands at least 59 miles a day for 52 straight days.  

We followed Ashprihanal Aalto, a diminutive Finnish paperboy and a 13 time (!) finisher of this colossal race as he returned for a record 14th attempt. We also follow Shamita Achenbach-Konig, an Austrian cellist as she attempts the Race for the first time. 

While the participants of that Race are for the most part Western, the Race was founded by the Indian spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy. In a sense, the Race requires runners to tap into an ancient energy found in the most remote cultures of the world. We build the arc of the entire film around this race and bounce between remote, expedition-worthy locations to draw parallels between the approaches to running.

The start of the 2016 3,100 Mile Race
The start of the 2016 3,100 Mile Race

Monks, Navajo & Bushmen - Oh My!

Cameras in hand, we set off on a global exploration of running. 

  • We hunted on the run with the Bushmen of Botswana. Hunting was recently banned by the Botswana Government as one step in their attempt to destroy this ancient culture. We met a group of Bushmen hunters defying that ban who wanted us to film their ancestral way of hunting.
  • We ran with champion Navajo runners versed by their Elders in the spiritual traditions of running. Shaun Martin, a Navajo educator, was attempting to retrace the footsteps of his father, who like many Native American kids was forced into government boarding school. Shaun's dad would routinely escape and walk the 100 miles back to his family's homesite. Shaun was attempting to do that distance in one shot.
  • And we embedded with the Japanese Marathon Monks to document their epic 1,000 day running journey where the stakes are literally life or death. Once a generation they pick an Aspirant to do 1000 days over 7 years, in 100 day chunks - up to 56 miles per day. If the Aspirant fails to complete his/her daily mileage requirement, he/she must commit suicide (!). Thankfully this hasn't happened in 100s of years.

Getting access was not easy by any means. But we approached with enough humility to win over folks, some of whom had never allowed outsiders to film their core spiritual traditions. And to our delight and surprise, the stories started to overlap in absolutely amazing ways.  

Our Navajo runner on a 100 miler.
Our Navajo runner on a 100 miler.

 

Risking Everything

Our characters and our team risked much (in some cases their very lives) to bring you this film. We’ve completed production and have started editing. We need your help to complete our edit and share the film with runners everywhere.

Will the film change the world? We don’t know. Will it change the viewers? Can’t say for sure. Has it changed us? Yes – it most certainly has. And that transformative experience we’ve had as filmmakers and runners is exactly what we want to bring to you. We’ve all run millions of steps in our lifetimes. We’re asking for your help in taking this next big step together.

A traditional bushman dwelling.
A traditional bushman dwelling.
 
A young Bushman wanders home.
A young Bushman wanders home.

 

Rewards!

This is a past Wings of America design ($100)
This is a past Wings of America design ($100)

 

Nirbhasa Macgee wearing the 2015 3100 Mile Race Shirt. The new one can be yours for a $75 pledge.
Nirbhasa Macgee wearing the 2015 3100 Mile Race Shirt. The new one can be yours for a $75 pledge.

 

 

Can't guarantee celebs at our premiere, but Eva Longoria was at our director's last (far right)! (Attend our premiere and more for a $1500 pledge)
Can't guarantee celebs at our premiere, but Eva Longoria was at our director's last (far right)! (Attend our premiere and more for a $1500 pledge)

 

Risks and challenges

We've completed the hardest and most expensive part - filming all the stories all around the world. And we've raised enough money to start our edit. Every project comes with risks, but since we're closer to the finish line than most, we feel ours has less risk.

Of course, anything can happen. But we aim to complete this film no matter what. We are planning on being able to finish by late summer and we don't foresee any delays but, frankly, no ambitious creator ever does. We hope to deliver rewards on schedule and don't anticipate any issues, but we all know what life can be like!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Personal Best

    We will thank you in our hearts and wish you a lifetime of PBs.

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    Photo Finish

    Receive a limited edition JPG by Forest Woodward, one of the acclaimed cinematographers/photographers who travelled with us to Botswana and the Navajo Nation. Find him on Instagram @ForestWoodward. Make it your desktop photo and pretend you travelled there with us.

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    Stick to it

    You'll receive an amazing die-cut asymmetrical sticker of the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race. Stick it on your car, on your wall, on your bike, or on a friend!

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    Eye Candy

    Receive a signed 5x7 photo by acclaimed photographer @ForestWoodward of Kalahari Bushman runners on an epic hunt in Botswana. Hang it on your wall and regale friends of the incredible time you spent learning the ways of the Bushmen.

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    Sneak peek

    Receive a digital download of the completed film before the vast majority of humans get to see our labor of love. Learn the secrets of running before the rest of the world does and beat all your friends in races (until they get to see the film themselves).

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    DVD Reward

    We will make a small run of DVDs for folks (like us) who still like physical media. And we'll have really nice labels and nice cardboard sleeves for these.

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    Keep on Truckin

    Get a limited edition 3100 Mile race Trucker Hat. Wear it to your next race and fend of thousands off new admirers. You'll also get a digital download of the film in early 2018.

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    Official 3100 Mile Race Shirt

    Receive a *very* special 2018 3100 Mile Race cotton t-shirt, usually given out only to official participants and volunteers. Wear it with pride and honor. You'll also get a digital download of the film in early 2018.

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    Official CoolMax Film Running Shirt

    We're making a limited number of "Run and Become" shirts in CoolMax fabric for our friends and fans. Be one of the first in the world to wear what's certain to become a fad in the running community. You'll also get a digital download of the film in early 2018.

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    Run Like the Ancients, Exclusive Tee

    Fresh from the Native Running organization WINGS OF AMERICA, you'll receive an exclusive Native American-themed running t-shirt. Discover your running wings in gear emblazoned with art from the original runners of North America. You'll also get a digital download of the film in early 2018.

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    Bushman Talisman Bracelet

    We were gifted a small number of fragile runners bracelets by the tribe of Kalahari Bushmen who took us into their villages and shared their knowledge and wisdom of running. We're not guaranteeing you'll be able to run for days with this bracelet, like they do. But we wouldn't be surprised if it granted you special powers. You'll also get a digital download of the film in early 2018.

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    Documentary Package and Website Thanks

    The team behind this film aren't newbies. Receive one Digital Download of your choice, choosing from these 2 awesome documentaries: Eva Longoria-produced FOOD CHAINS (Winner, 2016 BritDoc Impact Award as one of the most important films of 2015) and ALIAS RUBY BLADE (Winner of Cinema for Peace Award, shared with 12 Years a Slave). You'll also get a digital download of the film in early 2018.

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    Bushman Talisman Necklace

    If you think the Bushman Talisman Bracelet (above) is cool, check out this - a bushman necklace which may very well make you a world champ. Better yet, get both the necklace and bracelet! You'll also get a digital download of the film in early 2018.

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    Bushman Talisman Necklace

    If you think the Bushman Talisman Bracelet (above) is cool, check out this - a bushman necklace which may very well make you a world champ. You'll also get a digital download of the film in early 2018.

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    T-shirt package + Film + Film Credit

    Get all 3 special shirts, a digital download of the film AND a thanks in the film's credits. This could be the best deal EVER!!

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    Download + Documentary Package + Thanks

    The team behind this film aren't newbies. Receive downloads of these 2 awesome documentaries: Eva Longoria-produced FOOD CHAINS (Winner, 2016 BritDoc Impact Award as one of the most important films of 2015) and ALIAS RUBY BLADE (Winner of Cinema for Peace Award, shared with 12 Years a Slave). You also get a digital download of the FILM. Oh, you'll also receive a thanks in the film's credits.

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    Super Hopi Basket

    We were just on the remote Hopi Nation and met a woman weaving baskets by hand, with traditionally harvested and dyed yucca strands. We managed to bring one back, carry-on, and want to offer it to one lucky person. The Hopi are incredible runners - if you're truly lucky, this basket will make you 1/2 as fast as them!

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    Host Your Own Awesome Screening

    Whoa! Is this for real? Can you really host your own screening ! Heck yeah - we'll send you a DVD of our FILM with the appropriate community screening license so that you can invite all your running friends to your school, church or university and show off how much you love to run! The director will also Skype in - schedule permitting. You'll also get a digital download for personal viewing. Oh, you'll also receive a thanks in the film's credits.

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    Best Indian Meal of Your Life

    Have you had good Indian food? You might think so, but you haven't had great indian food til you've eaten the cooking of our director's parents. You know how every Indian says his/her mom cooks better than any restaurant? They're all lying, except for Sanjay. He's telling the truth. If you're in the Bay Area or NYC, come with some friends and have an Indian vegetarian dinner with Sanjay and his folks. Transportation not included. And date dependent on the availability of the chefs. All you can eat. We can even go for a run before and build up a huge appetite. Sanjay's parents will feed even the longest run. This might be the best KS reward ever offered.

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    Dinner with Producers

    Have you eaten Chinese food? You just think you have. But you haven't had a real Chinese meal til you've experienced the cuisine of our producer - Tanya Meillier. I know, "Tanya" isn't a traditional Chinese name. And don't judge her on "Meillier". That's our editor's last name (they're married). Tanya's mom was Chinese and she passed on the deepest, tastiest secrets of Chinese cooking on to her daughter. Come to their place in the hippest, most up-and-coming neighborhood of Brooklyn and kick back with a guest as Tanya rips out dish after dish after dish. Maybe pre-order your Lyft to take you home in the food coma you'll be in post-meal. There are only four rewards available cause, well, Tanya needs to focus on finishing the film as well. *travel not included - just food*

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    Tour the Actual 3100 Mile Race

    The director will personally host you at the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Run held in Queens, NYC in the summer. You'll get a behind-the-scenes view at this race and enjoy lunch at the local restaurant that helps provide all the meals. Meal included, but travel and lodging is on you. The Race is between June 18 and August 8 2017. Of course, you'll also get a digital download in early 2018. Oh, you'll also receive a thanks in the film's credits. And... we'll send you official Race shirts and swag.

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    Red Carpet Tix - What??? So awesome

    You'll join us at the world premiere of our FILM (tbd) and our awesome cast party. We'll all try to go for an early morning run the next day too if you're up for it. If you can't make it, we'll grab a couple tix for you to whichever future screening is most convenient. Travel and lodging not included. Oh - you'll also receive a THANKS in the film's credits. And... we'll send you official Race shirts and swag.

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    One of a Kind Navajo Bow Guard

    Master jeweler and champion runner Shaun Martin will make you a one-of-a-kind Navajo Bow Guard. Traditionally used by warriors in both practice and ceremony, this reward will make you a better runner and a better person (if you use it correctly :) Shaun and his father, Medicine Man Allen Martin, are both major characters in our film. Their spirituality runs so deep and true. Anyone would be fortunate to have a physical representation of that in this bow guard.

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    The Kitchen Sink

    You'll get a tour of the race, 4 tix to our premiere or any other screening plus a huge thank you in the credits of the film. And our undying gratitude.

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    Associate Producer Credit

    For your incredible contribution, you'll receive 4 tickets to the premiere (or any other screening of your choice) and ... wait for it ... a coveted Associate Producer credit in the film. That mean's your name will be on our IMDB.com page and way up high in our film's credit roll. You'll get so many props from all your runner friends when they see this too!!

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Funding period

- (30 days)