This whole project started in late 2011. I was recovering from my lower body lift surgery, and I got an email from a man named Rik. Rik told me that he had the same surgery a few weeks after I did, and he was very grateful for the posts I wrote about my experience. He said it helped to see what he had coming as far as recovery goes.
In his introduction, he mentioned that he'd done a Ragnar Relay, and I told him that I'd done one as well. We wrote about how much fun they were, and how cool would it be to run a Ragnar with other people like us? (People who had lost a lot of weight and become runners.)
|Rik and me in October 2012|
It took almost no time at all before we had a team of 11. We held off on one spot (the team requires 12 people) so that we could offer it to one of my blog readers who may have never commented or emailed me before. We had several people "apply", and Meredith's letter blew us away. We decided as a team that Meredith was the our 12th teammate. (You can see links to each member's story on this page).
We started a private Facebook group to get to know each other (we were all strangers to each other!). We had lost a collective 1200 pounds between the 12 of us, and we'd all become runners during our journey--some of us having done marathons, and some just starting at the 5K level--but we all had a common bond. We decided on the Ragnar Florida Keys in January 2013, and started making appropriate plans for that. One of the girls on our team, Jennifer, is a co-owner of a film company called Media Meld Studios. She and her partner, Angela, thought this whole story would make a great documentary film.
Angela and Jennifer decided to go ahead with the filming, and throughout 2012, they traveled to each team member's hometown to film interviews. Meanwhile, Rik and I made plans to run the Detroit Marathon together in October 2012, and it would be the first time we'd meet in person--naturally, Jennifer and Angela wanted to get that on film. Jennifer and Angela came out here to Michigan to film interviews in June 2012, and then again in October to film Rik and I meeting for the first time and running the race together.
|With Jennifer and Angela in June 2012|
|With Rik at the starting line of the Detroit Marathon 2012|
Finally, in January 2013, all 12 teammates, the production and film crew for the documentary, as well as The Today Show, flew down to Miami to meet for the first time. It was so fun to get to see all these people I'd been chatting with for a year! We had a great connection, and I knew the race was going to be a blast. I wrote all about the race and our time in Miami and Key West on several posts.
|Finish line photo in Key West|
Posts about the race:
Bienvenido a Miami
Ragnar Relay Florida Keys, Part 1
Ragnar Relay Florida Keys, Part 2
Ragnar Relay Florida Keys, Part 3
Ragnar Relay Florida Keys, Part 4
The Today Show aired!
Here is the clip from the Today Show:
After arriving back home, several of us appeared on our local news stations to talk about the film. And the production crew got to work on editing hundreds of hours of film down to a single movie. They also had to find investors in the film, which is a huge process in itself. I had no idea how much work, money, or energy goes into making a documentary!
For the last three years, Angela and Jennifer (as well as their film crew and editors) have been working like crazy on this project. The film was completed last year, but they still had to work on getting it publicized--at film festivals and available on digital networks. The film premiered at the Nashville Film Festival last summer, and while I wasn't able to be there, I was told that it was a big hit with the audience. There was a screening of it in Vegas last November for the From Fat to Finish Line community. And there will be a screening in San Diego this July. The film will be available to the public shortly after that...
The official release date is August 2, 2016! From Fat to Finish Line will be available on VOD (Video On Demand) for iTunes, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Xbox, and Playstation. If you pledged money on IndiGoGo for a DVD, that will be sent out and you will receive it around that time as well (Angela hopes to get them out just before the VOD release date). Then, in early September, the film will be available on Netflix.
Crazy, right?! I'm in a film that is going to be on NETFLIX. Even though I've known about this for four years, I guess I never really believed it would get this far. But the contracts are signed, and it's happening. Wow.
When I go to Virginia Beach over Labor Day weekend, there is going to be a screening of the film as well--and it's open to the public, so if any of you are interested in seeing it with me, I'd love to meet up! The film screening will be September 3rd (the Rock 'n' Roll Half is on the 4th, and a lot of the From Fat to Finish Line community is doing that). It should be a fun time!
I'll close with the trailer for the film. I've shared it several times before, but it still gets to me every time!