Extreme Running Efforts in a Must See Documentary

Spartathlon is one of the toughest and most demanding races in the world. The runners are supposed to cross 246 kilometres from Sparta to Athens and the average duration is 36 hours. The Hungarian director Balázs Simonyi made a documentary film about the race under the title Ultra, screened in the Industry section, dedicated to training and practical content. The screening will be accompanied by a Q&A and a workshop with the director, Case Study: Ultra.

The film provides a special dimension as the director Balázs Simonyi ran this historical route six times and knows the runners’ mental state, discoveries and suffering first-hand. Injuries, dehydration and vomiting are not new to these strong people who keep going despite of it all. Alongside Simonyi, several other runners are also followed in the film, but he is the only one directly interacting with the camera.

Simonyi is the protagonist, producer and director of this unusual film, made in co-production with HBO. He filmed over 250 hours of materials, 50 rough cuts and seven final cuts. He will speak about how to tackle that kind of material, what it looks like to work with a crew of 45 people and how to pitch an ‘athletic’ film.

This was a huge project for the director, as he wanted to depict a familiar topic with all the details and the runners’ mental state after so many hours of effort. To people taking part in Spartathlon, running is a lifestyle and an attempt to face their problems. A film about people who support what they love and their capability not to give up in times of hardship.