Taking risks. A film, which engenders the concept of refusing to accept the pre-packaged version of "who you are, as determined by society and who you expected to be to fulfil the norms of society expectations." The film highlights the power and joy of trusting one's own body, and giving it the chance to show one what it can really achieve. “I can do anything; there are no limits. I won’t let anybody else define me!” No doubt, most will agree with this sentiment. In response to this realisation it seems that women all over the world are now asking themselves: "if it’s true, why don’t I live like that? The common response:: "because maybe, deep down, I don’t always really believe it". The film portrays the story of five very different women who literally run headlong into the rarely accepted truth of their own self-doubt: A journey into the very heart of their own limitations. In November 2018 they stand, far from home, on the starting-line for the New York Marathon, the world’s most celebrated marathon. It is an extreme physical challenge, faced under great public scrutiny. Who are these women? – "I’m a school principal; I’m a mother; I’m a cop; I’m a businesswoman; I’m a grandmother ..." However, they all have one thing in common, which each clearly expresses:" I’m Not a Runner". This is their story. One of them recounts her experience, struggling after her second child: pulls out some old trainers, and while her family is sleeping, goes for a run just before dawn. She hasn’t gone far before a pair of anonymous voices from the darkness shout at her. "Give up the jigalong and go home, darling!" They drive on, laughing. She’s left standing on the street. Outrageous. In fact the real outrage is what happens next: She is startled to discover that for a nanosecond she agrees with them. "I am ridiculous. I should go home and never try again!". She is alone. Looking around at the unlit windows in the early morning she wonders:" Who else feels like me? Who else is stuck behind those closed doors?" The woman is Anna Liptak. She came home from that run and wrote up a simple flyer asking other women if they felt the same: “I’m not a runner ... I want to run.” Within a few weeks, 80 women had come off the sofa, and were running with her, not on treadmills in the sanctuary of a gym, but out on the streets of Adelaide. It soon became obvious that a plethora of problems were being experienced by members of this group, such as: divorce; unstable marriages; cancer; alcoholism; ageing;, obesity; anorexia; etc. While at the same time many of the women had achieved "success" as defined by society: career doctors and lawyers; police officers and school principals; women who had raised, or were raising armies of children. Nevertheless, irrespective of achievements, many still were weighed down by self doubt and the burning question 'who could I really be?"
How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?
The Project, I'm Not A Runner, focuses on the empowerment of women. Empowering women is important in many areas: socially, mentally, physically, financially and finding support networks. Women today need to achieve equality. This documentary aims to demonstrate to women (and men) that it is possible to achieve the seemingly unattainable.
What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?
Aims & Objectives
These women weren’t running away from their challenges.They were just running. They became fitter, stronger, and something inside each of them began to change. After a while, a second wave of I’m-not-a-Runners came to Anna: The husbands of these women, who had watched the quiet revolutions at work in their wives and realised they too wanted to change. All have felt the boundaries of what they assumed about themselves, shift. In a marathon, nothing is certain, there is nowhere to hide. You can never be completely sure your body will handle the extreme experience of running 42 km. And along the way, the stresses of sheer biochemistry will bring all the things that sent you running in the first place to the surface – the deepest fears and the truest dreams.
We run this day of a lifetime with Anna and some of the ordinary and utterly extraordinary women running it with her. Listening to the true stories that have lead them to New York, and seeing the layers of doubt rise up, and finally fall away. Some will surge through the finish line. Some will finish late at night on the pavement, long after the streets have been reopened and the race officially over. Others may pull up and walk another way home. But no one will be the same. Our film contains stories that every Australian can relate to, and we strongly believe that it champions the call: To Be More! The Impact of the film will be measured by the positive response from many women (and men) who will be motivated to find the courage to believe in themselves and in return, be rewarded by living a full, healthy and happy life.
What is your education and outreach strategy?
Broad Cast Channel 9 Adelaide - have agreed their intent to broadcast it once completed.
Local theatrical release
Film Festivals throughout Australia