Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"Running the Sahara" - Cleveland Premiere

Charlie and I hanging out at the reception afterwards

Tonight, I attended a special premiere screening of the film "Running the Sahara" at the Tower City Cinemas in Cleveland. This documentary was narrated and produced by Oscar winner Matt Damon, directed by Oscar winner James Moll, and featured music by Grammy winner Wyclef Jean.

"Running the Sahara" follows three ultra-marathoners on their 111-day, 4,300-mile attempt to run across Africa's Sahara Desert: Charlie Engle from Charlotte, North Carolina, Kevin Lin from Taipei, Taiwan, and Ray Zahab from Ontario, Canada – accompanied by a support team consisting of an MD, a physical therapist, and a logistics leader – as they attempt to become the first people to ever run across the Sahara Desert. This character-driven film delves into the life-changing experiences of the three runners as they tackle the physical and emotional obstacles in the Sahara Desert. The film delivers a message of hope and puts everyday challenges in perspective.

This was probably the best running movie that I've seen so far. It was well produced, the story was very motivating, and it was much more real than a lot of other films out there. The best part about tonight was that my $35 got me admission to the show, a t-shirt, a free DVD of the movie once it is released, and an open bar reception at the Ritz Carlton with Charlie Engle (the main character in the film). The other cool thing was that proceeds from the film go to benefit the Rodale Institute and H2O Africa.

Just being able to personally talk with Charlie and ask him questions though was well worth the admission fee. I thought he was a very cool guy and I was impressed that he answered questions in the movie theatre for about 30 minutes following the film. Here are a few video clips that I took during Charlie's Q&A session. Each video is dark, but you can hear the audio...

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For anyone that missed the Cleveland screening, there will be another local showing of the film on March 13th in Canton. Click here for details or click here for a complete list of upcoming locations.

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