Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The first pictures of the documentary about Matthew Blanchard

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Tony Vaughn
Tony Vaughn
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Selected at the Banff Adventure Film Festival: The News Just Fell. Director Jerome Bennett and the French regular of Salomon, the main protagonist of “Confiné”, the 75-minute documentary, didn’t ask for much. When in the summer of 2020, Matthew Blanchard pledges to cross the entire Appalachian Mountain International Trail, GR-A1, in 7 days, a 650km, 30,000m D+ overland track in the heart of Gaspey, Canada, she simply wanted to take on a challenge. New, no competition. He’ll come back with a great stopwatch and a documentary that’s now handing over to a trail runner. The film has already been shown in Canada, and the film should soon be seen in France. The outsider was able to preview him.

“I don’t care, the guy just runs!” This is what I wanted to avoid,” explains Jerome Bennett, director and producer of “Confiné,” the documentary he has just dedicated to one of Matthew Blanchard’s last challenges: crossing the GR-A1 for 7 days. Located in the heart of Gaspé, this 659 km International Appalachian Trail passes Across a wild and remote area of ​​Canada, it’s not a piece of fun, especially since in addition to the not always welcome big bears and deer, the French fairway runner was expected to experience about 30,000 vertical landings.

A challenge, but nothing a priori impossible for the athlete of Marseille origin, now residing in Montreal. Team Salomon Matthew Blanchard – 3NS At UTMB 2021 – this wasn’t his first victory: UTHC Ultra-Trail Harricana in Canada in 2017; Transalpine GoreTex Run in 2017; Transmartinique in 2017; Endure Challenge 2017 and 2018 in New York or even the QMT Québec Méga Trail in 2018, this engineer won many races who only started racing in 2016.

(Jerome Bennett)

The date will show that it was at the height of the company’s work and three numbers: 7 days, 12 hours and 2 minutes; The reference time on the GR-A1 until then is 19 days 5 hours. And so the goal was reached for the runner that, within 75 minutes of the documentary, one sees doubts and struggles: “I can’t hide that I’m terribly tired, that my body hurts, that this challenge overtakes me and I have to take advantage of unexpected resources,” he said in an Instagram post. , 140 km from the end.

But beyond the performance, it is undoubtedly the human adventure that will entice viewers of this feature film. Because if it’s actually “Seeing a Man Running” for 75 minutes, it’s hard to panic more than a handful of die-hard runners, if today this documentary is a surefire success in Canada, where it’s already in a few theaters, and especially if it’s drawn a commission Judging for the Banff International Festival, which was deemed a requirement, the issue was less about the athlete’s time than his racing style. Because here we discover that this extraordinary adventure is the story of a “crew”, of a group of “not all friends at first”, who come together during the adventure and give the best of everything. Themselves, admire Matthew Blanchard’s bravery. About the trail runner, there is no crew in Salomon’s colors, but the friends are fascinated by the challenge and personality of the track runner. Sometimes to the point of turning into an absolute fan. Perhaps something smiles or annoys, but they are all loved nonetheless, because their sincerity is evident. This is the human side that we will remember that emerged as the common thread of a project that had everything that could have been accomplished.

For Matthew Blanchard and Jerome Bennett, it all begins during confinement, in the spring of 2020. The world is at a standstill, and Montreal is, too. The city is empty. Both the track runner and the director need goals. Jerome knows Mathieu only through the social networks through which he communicates with him. In Canada, the athlete is already a character, even if he has not yet done Koh Lanta. Against all expectations, Mathieu answers him. Their first pictures together? Matthew runs through the completely deserted streets of Montreal. The idea for the GR-A1 isn’t in the pipeline yet, but it will soon be part of a much larger project: to directly follow the crossing of the Gaspé Peninsula. “A region so wild that fascinates the French,” explains Jerome Bennett who immediately believes in adventure and will fully fund the production of the documentary, his first film, which he will shoot and edit on his own. A good runner – doing his 88-100 km rounds weekly – the director will be able to follow Matthew in the main stages of the course and will not hesitate to return to filming locations covering dozens of kilometers on foot for additional shots in order to show all the beauty of Gaspé.

But the biggest difficulty wasn’t there, he insists: My biggest challenge for this movie was getting it accessible to the general public. I didn’t want a movie that would only attract runners… I wanted something that would please everyone and tell a story where everyone would find their way. Marathon runners are often described as Superman, alien and a machine… I didn’t want to fall into these cliches and wanted to present Matthew as an ordinary being with an exemplary work ethic… and exercised the same scope of work • Feelings that anyone challenging themselves to a challenge is close to their heart. And whether a person travels 5 kilometers or 650 kilometers, he will go through the same situations / feelings … After the first screenings of “Confined”, the film attracts as many runners as non-runners … the moment his mission is accomplished”, he concludes.

Banner photo: Jerome Bennett

themes :
running trail
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