Local filmmakers begin work on new documentary

We received this news from 614 Films, a local company that includes former Xpress staffer Brian Sarzynski and local filmmaker extraordinaire Rod Murphy:

614 Films, an Asheville-based film company, has begun work on their latest documentary Return of the Champions. The filmmakers are, once again, focusing their cameras on the Tarahumara – an indigenous people living deep in the rugged Copper Canyons of Mexico. 614 Films explored Tarahumara culture in their 2009 documentary Being the Diablo.

For centuries, the Tarahumara have lived in anonymity in one of the most remote regions in North America. It’s been said they are the world’s greatest runners. Author Christopher McDougall brought that mystique beyond the canyon walls with his hugely popular bestseller Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. The book highlights the Tarahumara’s love of running and their ability to run hundreds of miles in nothing more than their traditional loincloth and sandals cobbled together from old tire treads and leather straps. Once a year they pit themselves against ultra-runners from around the world in the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon — a 50-mile race across trails and streams at the bottom of Urique Canyon.

Return of The Champions Trailer from 614 Films (Rod Murphy) on Vimeo.

614 Films is setting out to document on film this incredible foot race and the transformative power running has on its participants. The film crew will follow four former champions of the race.  Arnulfo Quimare (2007 winner) is a Tarahumara who is a legend in the world of ultra marathons. Will Harlan (2009 winner) is an American runner from Asheville. His running with the Tarahumara dramatically changed his life. Beatriz Mendez (2011 women’s winner) hails from Chihuahua, Mexico; for Beatriz, running is her only path out of grinding poverty. Miguel Lara (2011 winner) is a 20-year-old Tarahumara who shattered the course record last year despite temperatures that approached 100 degrees.

Director Rod Murphy notes, “We’ve been filming the Tarahumara and the Copper Canyons on and off for the past six years. This is a place where life thrives amid a harsh and beautiful landscape. The Tarahumara legend is inspiring people to take a closer look at a place that is under siege from the creep of modernity — loggers are plowing roads in for profit, and the narcos are fighting a turf war that now extends to even these remote canyons. This ultra marathon was designed to help the Tarahumara fight back the best way they know how. They are running for their lives.”

Also joining 614 Films as a producer will be Mickey Mahaffey — a WNC native who has lived among the Tarahumara for over ten years, and is one of the few outsiders who has been invited to participate in Tarahumara rituals and celebrations.

Get involved at http://www.614films.com.





Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.