The Runners

From Beyond Social

The Runners (by Matan Rochlitz & Ivo Gormley) 

Written by Dominic Mulder (Audiovisual department WDKA 2017)

The project I chose to talk about is a short documentary called The Runners. It’s made by two documentary filmmakers that try to engage with their subjects. In this documentary they went to the park several times to interview people that were running. They found out that lots of people open up during a run, even to two total strangers. People opened up about very personal matters and gave their opinion on subjects.

I found this particularly interesting because it’s a very easy concept but has a big impact on it’s audience. I like the concept of going out there and making content that is able to create with a small production, in this case two people.

The context of this film is very personal. The makers were wondering what these runners were thinking about while they were charging through the streets of London. They wanted a different format of interview than the traditional we know, where a subject is in front of a camera and always aware of the presence of it.

    When the interviewee is running and the camera is moving as well it gives another vibe to a interview. Besides the format, the runners were not at all aware of the fact that they were going to be interviewed when they left their front door for a run. They had the idea that the subjects would be more open when they were distracted from the interview, which would give them the opportunity to ask questions they wouldn’t in a traditional interview.

This documentary is very artistic in a way because the makers had no idea how to produce the content with just the two of them. They had this idea and produced it in a very humane way which everyone could’ve thought of. They made a chair in a trailer which was towed by a cycle. That way they were able to enter the park, where runners are most active, and both have a job while they were shooting. They must’ve looked ridiculous for other people in the park.

Personally I think this is a good project because these people thought about what people were thinking in public and brought that to the screen. Everyone may seem closed in public spaces and no one seems to be wondering what others think. When you’re watching the short documentation it’s really heartwarming to hear what people have to say and what they consider to be their problems.

I think the audience can really relate to the subjects in the film because everyone has their own problems and thoughts on subjects. That makes this film interesting. The format also makes the audience see people in public in a different perspective. You get to see people that don’t want to be interviewed, people that think it’s a joke and people that open up just like that. Communication in public is reduced since the integration of smartphones, headphones etc. It most certainly was not the idea of the filmmakers to have this concept integrated in the movie, but it has that feel for me as well. If people would still communicate as much as they did in the past, they would engage more to each other. We’re bombed with information on the internet, but that’s all from a distance; your phone, computer etc. This documentary shows us that face-to-face communication can lead to great insights on different subjects.

I’m not quite sure how this project could’ve been better. I feel like the rawness of the image, conversations and people feels real, which makes the documentary what it is. I like the imperfections of the shots, which illustrates the struggles of the filmmakers, in some way you get to know the makers as well because of it. They ask controversial and direct questions and they let you know they did.

I think a project like this is really a quest for the filmmakers themselves and inspires to ask different questions and choose other approaches, which I find very interesting. If the proces of the making a piece can be a personal improvement, that’s inspiring.