Are People More Open About Life When Running?

Two filmmakers capture funny and surprisingly candid confessions from runners in a London park.

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In a park in downtown London, directors Matan Rochlitz and Ivo Gormley set out to ask the most intimate questions of unsuspecting joggers. With the idea that the unconventional interview location would drop the runners’ guards, the filmmakers were able to elicit candid, funny, and oftentimes moving responses.

In an interview with The Atlantic, Rochlitz talks about the impetus for the film, and how they captured the runners in motion.

The Atlantic: How did you come up with this idea?

Matan Rochlitz: The idea came while swimming. I noticed how, once I'd hit my rhythm, my thoughts would sort of align themselves in ways that made them easier to parse. I started actually taking thoughts or ideas I wanted to "untangle" and swimming with them, and often it'd work. I'd come away with a newfound clarity.

I mentioned this to Ivo and together we thought about turning it into a film. We transposed the idea to runners and set off.

How long did you work on the filming/interviewing portion of the project?

We filmed over about a year.

How many people did you interview in the process?

We didn't keep track, but we think somewhere around 80 to 100.

Were you surprised that people were often so forthright with you?

In a way, that had been the hunch all along. But when we saw it was actually working, it was thrilling.

Do you have a favorite response from one of the runners?

The runner who mentions his father's dementia seems to get some of the strongest reactions. I loved that conversation because it had been quite superficial until we moved on to talking about his dad. It showed me that every conversation we were going to have, we had to find something the runner was truly passionate about.

What was the rig you were set up on while filming and interviewing?

Very basic! A Canon 5D and a shotgun mic. Oh and a bike trailer.

To see more work from Rochlitz visit his website http://matanrochlitz.net/, or to learn more about Ivo Gormley's project 'Good Gym' visit http://www.goodgym.org/.

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Paul Rosenfeld writes and produces for Atlantic Video. His work has also appeared on The Daily Beast and CNN.com.

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