Case Study: Ultra


17/11 | SATURDAY | 16:00 | F22
Frankopanska 22
16:00 With a screening of Ultra 16:00
17:30 Case Study: Ultra
open to public

Protagonists with 5 languages, shot in 7 countries, 250+ hours material, 50 rough cuts, 7 final cuts, 45 people crew always in moving, first feature length doc of a director who is also one of the producers and protagonists. All this is Ultra. Balázs Simonyi’s HBO-co-produced documentary, that has gathered a huge audience and industrial success (EFA shortlist 2017), delves into the ultramarathon world. One of the most important runs is the Spartathlon, running from Athens to Sparta, 246 km in 36 hours. The director as an amateur runner has competed in the race six times, so it is clearly a very personal subject for the director.

The case study will reveal:
– the (dis)advantage of a double role (runner-protagonist and control-freak director);
– the way from the development process until the post-production phase, emphasizing the extreme production period of this unique project: the dos and don’ts, the financial ups and downs, the training of the crew, the logistics of the shooting;
– the post-production phase blessed with enormous amount of materials (250+ hours);
– the afterlife of the film (unorthodox PR & Marketing tools & ideas, 0-24 management): How to make a successful local and festival premiere? How to release a film drama, that is “stigmatized” by the sports label?

Balazs Simonyi is a Hungarian film director, member of the European and Hungarian Film Academy. He majored in Literature and Film and Art Theory and is currently completing his PhD in Art Theory. He works as a director and producer since 2002. His work had more than 250 festival screenings in 20 countries. Simonyi has authored many exhibitions of photographs since 2003.

Ultra, 2017, Hungary, Greece, 81 min.

Year after year runners from around the world participate in one of the most prestigious and challenging race, the Spartathlon. The race stretches along the historic 246-km route from Athens to Sparta and lasts for 36 hours. The protagonists all have their own personal reasons for joining this extreme run. None of them knows whether they will ever be able to finish it, but they do know that it is crucial for them to try and maybe reach the impossible. They are everyday athletes who test their limits, heal their souls and release their demons. Ultra is a unique journey into the pasts, hearts and minds of runners embraced by the director who is one of the runners. Balázs Simonyi, who has finished the race six times, tells a touching human drama punctuated at times with humor about the runners and their universe of cathartic self-discoveries, voluntary suffering, and a hypnotic state of mind. A real first-hand experience and a unique insight into this unknown world.