Rise of the Sufferfests: An indie doc that wonders WHY?
Rise of the Sufferfests: An indie doc that wonders WHY?
A documentary feature about the obstacle racing phenomenon that stops to ask: WHY THE HELL IS EVERYONE SUDDENLY PAYING FOR PAIN?
A documentary feature about the obstacle racing phenomenon that stops to ask: WHY THE HELL IS EVERYONE SUDDENLY PAYING FOR PAIN? Read more
About this project
Obstacle racing is everywhere. It's on the Today Show. It's on Wheatie's boxes. And in December, the Spartan World Championship will be televised on NBC Sports. In 2013, upwards of 4 million people will brave an obstacle course. Which is incredible when you consider the fact that in 2010 that number was around 40,000. The speed with which sufferfests have charged into pop cultural consciousness is nothing short of staggering. So it was only a matter of time before someone made a documentary that asked:
WHY the hell everyone is suddenly paying for pain?
There are many interesting possibilities: narcissism, loneliness, media saturation, outsourcing of manual labor, and so on. To help drill down to the root of it all, I'm assembling a dream team of experts, athletes, insiders and everyday people. And while I certainly don't presume this journey will lead to a single answer, I believe the OCR phenomenon holds a mirror to life in the digital era... and that this discourse is important.
For more on the why? of it all, read "You still Alive? Prove it," a brilliant column about this film by Mark Morford, the San Francisco Chronicle/SF Gate's award-wining culture critic.
And check out Outside magazine's interview with filmmaker Scott Keneally.
A BIT OF BACKSTORY
The truth is, I never expected to dive THIS deep into OCR. My dream was to become an experiential humorist, penning confessionals like this one for the NYT Styles about my struggles with sweaty pits.
Tough Mudder seemed like another uncomfortable experience to write about, so I trained up, ran one, wrote a comedic essay and figured that would be that.
Little did I know that while reading up on the company, I’d stumble upon a lead and spend the next year reporting on the industry for a cover story in Outside. And you can imagine my surprise when that led to a gig consulting on a segment for 60 Minutes Sports, and a speaking engagement at Stanford Business School.
It has been a wild ride, and I feel incredibly blessed to have discovered such a fascinating sub-culture of mud-minded maniacs. And one that grows with every hour, every event. OCR is a tapestry of compelling narrative threads, and as a storyteller, I’m excited and honored to shine a bright light on some of them.
Including, but certainly not limited to:
The Painted Warrior, the most colorful man in OCR.
OCR superstar Amelia Boone, whom I wrote about for the November issue of Outside.
And Mr. Mouse, the Original Tough Guy. He's a huge reason why millions of us look like Rambo on Facebook, and is - hands down - the most interesting man I've ever encountered.
While these are just a few of the stars, I'm also looking forward to telling the stories of everyday people for whom obstacle racing is a transformative experience. People like... YOU.
IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT MUD!
WE NEED YOU!
As you probably know, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing proposition. If I don’t reach my goal of $297,000 during my 40-day campaign, I won’t see a penny of it. Because of this, several friends have urged me to ask for $100,000 and hope for more. But the reality is that in order to make the kind of incisive, definitive documentary that this community has earned for all their blood, sweat and tears - and one with incredible production value - we’ll need at least $275,000. (Note: the $297k factors in the 8% fees for Amazon and KS.) OCR isn't just an American pastime, after all, but a global phenomenon. And in order to tell the full story, there will be quite a bit of travel involved. Both domestically and internationally. And I’d also like to team up with a great post-FX house to create mesmerizing motion graphics, animations, and bring this Mr. Mouse character to life for key sequences.
Keith Lancaster - Cinematographer
With Cinematography credits on a feature-length documentary and two feature films in 2012 and 2013 alone, Keith is a great addition to the team. Aside from shooting commercials and films with the likes of Harrison Ford, Ice T, Danny Trejo, hip hop mogul Scarface, he is currently in production as the DP of a documentary about Bill Nye the Science Guy, and in post as the Director of his own feature-length narrative he recently shot in Paris, France.
Originally an editor for films, documentaries and commercials, Keith studied both photography and cinematography at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA, allowing him to bring both his post production experience and his love of distinct visual style to the Rise of the Sufferfests production.
Jerry Dugan - Executive Producer
Whether you love snowboarding or hate it, few people are as responsible for its rise in the 90s as director Jerry Dugan. Starting in 1989, he produced ten hugely influential flicks. His Fall-Line Films' narrative-driven movies followed the best boarders across the world, celebrating the sport’s lifestyle and culture, while mobilizing a generation of Gen Xers to drop out, flock to the mountains and shred.
His successes led to gigs shooting extreme sports for ESPN2 and MTVSports, and soon grabbed the attention of ad agencies who hired him to direct commercial spots. Over the years, he has worked on successful campaigns for blue-chip brands like American Express, Burger King, AT&T and Coors Light. He also directed two viral “Xtreme Booking” spots for Hotels.com. His wealth of experience, storytelling abilities, and production skills, make him an ideal EP/mentor for this project.
The Painted Warrior - Branding/Design
Not only is Stephen Sinek one of the stars of the film, he's also been involved with all aspects of our branding. From logos to memes to Facebook cover photos, The Painted Warrior has his fingerprints all over 'Rise of the Sufferfests.' Needless to say, we feel incredibly grateful for his design wizardry.
Risks and challenges
During the dozen years I've worked as a treatment writer for music videos and commercials, I've been around production enough to know that obstacles arise. Be it an unexpected monsoon (Katy Perry's "Part of Me" video) or moody celebrity subjects (as if I'd say), every production faces unexpected challenges. That said, given my experience and industry contacts, I'm confident we will find creative solutions to whatever comes our way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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