Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 18, 2012.

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This film explores the 100-mile nonstop ultramarathon in TN. An eccentric race for the intractable. In 25 years only 10 have finished.

**We have reached our funding goal thanks to you, our Backers!!!  You can still support us until April 18th - the only guarantee you will ever see the documentary!**

We are so appreciative of your support and excitement for the film.  We had the most amazing experience at the 2012 Barkley Marathons and look forward to sharing it with you.  We have just a few days left on kickstarter so if you do want to guarantee a viewing of the film, this may be your only way!  We have our own new goal to help start post production but, since we reached our original kickstarter funding goal, we will receive your pledges!

We never could have imagined what the Barkley 2012 had in store for us.  It was a record-breaking year!  The speed record was broken by 3 hours, first two-time finisher, and first ever year where 3 runners finished the 100 mile race!

Thank you for your support.  Every dollar counts!  With all expenses out-of-pocket, your support will help make this film!  40% of this funding will be the wages and food for the local Tennessee crew while shooting the race.  Another 40% will provide camera, sound, grip, and electric rentals to capture unique perspectives of the race that would otherwise be impossible to see.  The final 20% will fulfill required insurance, state park tent site fees, RV for gear and downloading of footage, required guide for shoot at Brushy Mountain State Prison, gasoline for round-trip drive to Tennessee, and travel expenses for pre-race scout and interview footage.

Our documentary will explore the Barkley's unique history and traditions, its spectacular failures, and rare triumphs.  We will delve into the minds of those who run and discover what compels them to enter a race in which the only certainty is pain. What will happen at this year's race? With your support, we will find out.

Synopsis

This project is a documentary film about an annual nonstop 100-mile footrace across the raw terrain of Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee.   Each year only 35 participants are accepted to compete, and they must finish five 20-mile loops in 60 hours.  The course is so difficult that, in its 25-year history, only 10 runners have finished.  Lazarus Lake and Raw Dog were inspired to create this ultramarathon when they heard about an escaped convict, James Earl Ray, who only managed to flee 8 miles in 55 hours from the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary adjacent to Frozen Head.  On the ever-changing course runners traverse rivers, fight their way through thorny sawbriars, and by the end, will have both climbed and descended 55,000 feet.  Along the route are 10 strategically placed books from which each runner must produce a torn page, corresponding to their race number, at the finish line.  With only several pages of vague directions, a map, and just 2 unmanned water stations on the course, runners push their physical and mental abilities to the limits.

Not Allowed: GPS, Altimeter, or use of phone. If you use any of these you are disqualified.

When failure is almost certain, what makes these runners decide to face such a momentous undertaking?

Who is Lazarus Lake and what made him want to create a race that is almost impossible to finish?

Inspiration

We were inspired to make this documentary after reading an article by Leslie Jamison in the Believer magazine, entitled “The Immortal Horizon” (May 2011).  Please click the link to read what we are getting ourselves into!

Follow our adventure on Facebook and Twitter

FAQ

If this race is as hard as they say, how are you going to shoot this?  There is so much we want to do, and that's where your help comes in.  From additional crew on race days to pre-rigged motion sensor cameras, your donation will help us acquire the most compelling footage with as little impact on the runners as possible.

What is the slowest race record for the Marathons?  In 2006 one runner managed only 2 miles in 32 hours.

Has anyone ever died while attempting the Marathons?  No.

Thanks to:

Original Music by Jeremy C. Simon

Original Music by Squidley: "Sirscruffalot"

Lazarus Lake, author of My Name is Big, Andrew Dunlap, Matt Mahoney, John Lacroix, Wouter Hamelinck, Naresh Kumar, Alan Abbs, Beverley Anderson-Abbs, Julian Jamison, Tim Dines, Paul Melzer, and Frozen Ed Furtaw, author of Tales From Out There - The Barkley Marathons, The World's Toughest Trail Race, and all of the participants of the Barkley, past and future.

FAQ

  • Depending on the location of the shipment, we may have to add a shipping charge for international orders. This will probably be on a case by case basis since each location would incur a different charge.

    Last updated:
  • Great question! If we do not make our goal, no one is charged for their donation - no money is changed hands at all and we don't get one cent. The idea behind kickstarter being that if not enough interest is generated to make a funding goal, then no backers are charged. We are really confident in our project and this gives us incentive to get the word out. That is why we are so thankful to every dollar that people are willing to pledge; it all counts! With that said, we love the idea that anyone who is interested in the Barkley and/or our film can have a hand in helping us make it.

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    Our SINCERE GRATITUDE! Thank you for helping us to reach our goal and for spreading the word. You will receive updates on the progress of our project.

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    A personalized THANK YOU POSTCARD sent from the directors with an anecdote from the 2012 Barkley Marathons. There are sure to be many unique stories from our time at this year's race, and this will give you an inside peak into the filmmaking process.

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    Access to a DIGITAL STREAM of the film when it becomes available, and the very special thank you postcard.

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    A DVD OF THE FILM in the mail, digital stream access, and your very own thank you postcard.

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    Named as a SUPPORTER in the CREDITS of the film, you will also receive an AUTOGRAPHED DVD of the film, digital stream access, and postcard.

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    A LIMITED EDITION BARKLEY MARATHONS MOVIE T-SHIRT, an autographed DVD of the film, digital stream access, postcard, and your name will be included as a supporter in the credits of the film. (T-shirt will deliver in July 2012)

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    You will receive TWO PASSES to a PREMIERE SCREENING of the film in Los Angeles (travel and board not included), Barkley Marathons Movie t-shirt, autographed DVD of the film, digital stream access, postcard, and your name will be included as a supporter in the credits of the film.

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    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT on the film, two passes to a premiere screening of the film in Los Angeles (travel and board not included), a Barkley Marathons Movie t-shirt, autographed DVD of the film, digital stream access, and postcard.

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    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CREDIT on the film, two passes to a premiere screening of the film in Los Angeles (travel and board not included), a Barkley Marathons Movie t-shirt, autographed DVD of the film, digital stream access, and postcard.

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Funding period

- (34 days)