Ultrarunning evokes notions of insanity, dedication, and the pursuit of mind over body. A blend of eye-popping scenery, extreme human achievement, and revealing personal stories, Confessions of a Runner features Patrick Vaughan—an accomplished trail runner, small business owner, parent, and survivor of serious physical impairments—as he shares his story of healing and redemption while pursuing the record for completing the Lebanon Mountain Trail 470km.
Exquisite handheld and drone cinematography and a soundtrack from local musicians provide context to this rugged north-to-south trail run, traversing from Syria to the Israeli border. Experience the Lebanese Mountain Trail through the strides and sweat of Patrick and the experiences of guide and record-holder Avedis Kalpaklian and other local runners. Patrick keeps one eye on his GPS and the other eye on the prize, breaking the record of eight days set by Avedis, a stand-out Lebanese mountain athlete and ultra-runner.
Unscripted and unpredictable, Confessions is an exploration of what has driven Patrick to run incredible distances and redefine his limits in an inspiring journey to peace and redemption.
People who run up and down mountains for up to 100 continuous hours can’t possibly be normal, right? But they are more like the rest of us than you would imagine. Some overcome extreme physical and mental adversity and then progress to running 100-mile and 200-mile races as therapy…or redemption. For others, it is a natural progression from a mile to a 5k to a 10k to marathon and ultra-marathon distances as they push themselves to achieve greater challenges
Confessions of a Runner is a verité, athlete-driven series focusing on elite runners whose unique insights into the diversity and competitive nature of the human spirit are uplifting and astonishing. Unlike runners pursuing Olympic medals, or fame and glory, most ultra-runners have more complex reasons for their all-consuming hobby. Sure, some of the best have sponsors; but even they have day jobs, families, and other interests. For most, it is simply the challenge of finishing a race—preferably near the front of the pack—that propels these remarkable people to achieve peak performance running up, across, and down mountain trails all over the world.
I went to Lebanon for many years and never saw any of the places I saw on this trail. The coolest thing about this trail is that it’s connecting the history of the country, which everybody is at least somewhat familiar with…but with the natural aspect, that nobody is aware of at all.Patrick Vaughan
The pilot, featuring Patrick running solo in pursuit of the record for completing the Lebanon Mountain Trail—282 miles with thousands of feet of vertical ascents and descents—in seven days, is mesmerizingly beautiful. The father of nine-year-old twins with his Lebanese ex-wife, Patrick has developed a strong affinity for the country; but, he says, “I went to Lebanon for many years and never saw any of the places I saw on this trail. The coolest thing about this trail is that it’s connecting the history of the country, which everybody is at least somewhat familiar with…but with the natural aspect, that nobody is aware of at all.” Patrick keeps one eye on his GPS and the other eye on the prize: breaking the record set by Avedis Kalpaklian, a stand-out Lebanese mountain athlete and ultra-running competitor.
Patrick has a way of making the incredible seem plausible. Managing an IT company and running ultramarathons almost monthly, Patrick is our guide into the world of extreme sports and the intense people who pursue trail running for myriad reasons.
In sum, Confessions of a Runner, the first in a series of six episodes about ultrarunners, what makes them tick and the stunning geography where they seek peace and redemption, is a gateway program to understanding the pursuit of healing, perseverance, and self-awareness. This is a series for all seasons. Subsequent episodes, with Patrick as host—while racing with and against the other lead characters—feature an alluring lineup of ultra-runners conquering some of the most demanding terrain the sport has to offer.
House of Steep Productions intends to deliver six season-one episodes of Confessions of a Runner by employing a hybrid production strategy: We will blend race coverage with verité storylines, shot with protagonists and secondary characters in each discrete program ahead of time. As with the famous “Up Close and Personals,” our intent is to capture the personalities behind the competitors…to experience them at home, at work, at play, to see and feel what makes them tick, and then, in the mountains, to run in their shoes—and see and hear what makes them fly.
Having our Host, Patrick Vaughan, in the competition is a crucial component to this execution, as his acceptance by his peers will yield insights, nuances, and intrigue unavailable to outsiders.
We have identified a group of endurance athletes with interesting stories representing a range of topics. Our approach is to follow each athlete during a unique ultramarathon distance challenge focusing on long trail record attempts and races in the 200 mile plus range.
House of Steep Productions will shoot on location in 4K (Ultra HD) and at least 50MB/second bitrate with drone coverage, handheld gyro-stabilized cameras, and state-of-the-art audio recording capabilities. We can deploy our documentary teams to international events, from the Pyrenees to the Arctic to the Atacama Desert.
- This series actually began production in 2017, when Patrick Vaughan decided to take on the challenge of the Lebanon Mountain Trail.
- Cinematographer Bachar Khattar filmed Patrick’s record-chasing attempt in high definition, recruiting members of his Beirut-based high-end production company to supply aerial drone coverage, professional audio, and production support, including editing.
- The project was internally funded until receiving a grant in 2019 from Visionaire Media and the MENA Media Fund facilitated completion in 2020. The result is a highly charged trailer and a series pilot.
- Confirm characters for the remaining five episodes of Season One
- Schedule verité shoots with primary and secondary characters at multiple venues for 2020
- Complement core House of Steep Productions staff with world-class cinematographers and audio recordists
- Contract with Media Manager/Assistant Editor to organize workflow pre-edit, and Associate Producer/Production Manager for logistics, plus support staff
- Finalize deal terms with funders/distributors
- Exquisite handheld and drone cinematography and a soundtrack from local musicians
- Interview before, during and after the run
- Our host Patrick will be providing all the information about the trail and the runner performance.
- Behind the scenes pictures and video covering the whole experience
- Working plan is to have two full edit operations, each with an Editor and Asst. Editor, overseen by Bachar Khattar, Director, and Tim Rockwood, Producer. Ideally, one team based in Lebanon and one in Washington
- Estimating 6 months of editing for 6 episodes
- Los Angeles or NYC tba
- Lucid post Beirut Lebanon