A truly inspirational film from Director Aaron Smart following one of the worlds premiere trail-runners Ruby Muir, her journey into competitive running, and the conflict she deals with that stem from her upbringing vs. the competitive nature of the sport. A great story told with the stunning imagery of New Zealand's Kohi Point Scenic Parkway as a backdrop that'll make you want to go outside, run, and explore for sure!
I talked with Aaron earlier this week to get a little insight on his experience making Just Keep Running:
401: So how did you come across Ruby and her remarkable story?
Aaron: I first met Ruby whilst I was co-producing the official documentary of the Vibram Tarawera Ultra Marathon here in New Zealand. (Which Ruby was the 1st Woman and 7th overall in the 100km event) We were doing profiles on the elite athletes competing in the race. I was intrigued by the story of her upbringing in a remote communal community and thought that would make a good story.
Before I contacted her with a proposal to make a film about her, I made a short film of my wife running around some cliff tops and native bush, just so Ruby could get an idea of the type of look I was going for when it came to the running sequences. I got her email from the Tarawera race director and asked if she would like to do it.
I think it helped that I had video links to the running stuff and other work I had done.
401: Ruby talks about running in the mountains, and the literal obstacles they pose for a runner. I imagine there's at least an equal amount of obstacles for you shooting in the environments you find yourself in. Do anything stick out that really challenged you on this film?
Aaron: I guess the biggest challenge was filming Ruby and Kristian in an area called the Ruahine Mountain Range a couple hours drive from where they live. We had to carry all the film gear in up to the hut which was a steep walk in, as well as camping gear as we were staying overnight in a hut on top of the mountain. So no power for camera batteries, stuff like that.
401: In Just Keep Running, and a lot of your other work, you're set in some absolutely breathtaking natural settings. Have you always had such a great connection with the outdoors? And, for someone who isn't familiar, (like myself) how much of New Zealand looks that amazing?
Aaron: I love getting into the outdoors when ever I can. As I'm getting busier it's proving to be a bit harder. My wife and I have been taking our kids tramping (NZ for trekking) overnight staying in huts and they love it. I took my 10 year old son with me for the filming up in the Ruahines (that we talked about earlier), we had a great time.
Yeah NZ is pretty amazing. For JKR we filmed in the North Island where I live and where Ruby lives about 3.5 hours drive away. The North Island and South Island are pretty different geographically. In the North Island we have some pretty cool volcanoes (some still active) I shot the sequence of Ruby running whilst talking about her past addiction with running, on one that was used in the filming of Lord of the Rings.
The South Island has the big grand snow peaked mountains which is just amazing. If we had a budget for JKR I would have loved to have filmed down there.
401: Honestly, New Zealand has leaped way up onto my "places I need to visit" list. What is it you would like viewers to take away from JKR?
Aaron: Inspiration. I would hope that people are inspired by Ruby and her story...
401: Then I would say job well done Aaron. So what's next, any other projects on the horizon?
Aaron: Just finishing off a series of short videos that document NZ endurance athlete Mal Law's training of his High 50 Challenge http://www.high50.org.nz. Got a bit of local work for over the summer, but I'm also looking for something else to follow up JKR...
401: Great stuff, I'll be looking forward to whatever story you come across next. Check out some of Aaron's other great work on his Vimeo Page.