I was recently approached by the filmmakers behind the short film Flat Feet. The story takes the personal struggles and successes every runner experiences, and sets it against a backdrop of the serene Lake Michigan, the energetic, sometimes chaotic Lakefront Trail, and the striking Chicago skyline. The plot is about the underdog in all of us, and how with some hardwork and miles on the ground, running can help us make comebacks. In short – it’s a runner’s film that everyone can relate to.
Production is about halfway done on the film, and they would eventually like to submit it to festivals. But, they need some help with funding. In the meantime, I was able to do a “virtual” interview with them to dive deeper into the film and what they hope to achieve.
Who are the main characters in Flat Feet?
Our hero is Kenny. He’s a stubborn, down-on-his luck nobody who has hit rock bottom when the movie opens. He’s got nothing – his girlfriend has left, he’s lost his job, and he has to give up his luxurious condo for a shabby studio. Lacking any money or friends, Kenny turns to running to cope. But the same self-centered, jealous qualities of his personality that likely started all of his problems continue to persist in his life as a runner when he takes it upon himself to impose a rivalry between himself and the super-athletic studly marathon trainer, Duke.
Where did the idea for the story come from?
It came to me while running, actually! The story is actually very personal for me in a lot of ways. I took up running when I was at a bit of a crossroads in my own life. I was a few years out of college and struggling to balance working a retail job against taking freelance film work in just about anything I could get (wedding videos, documentary transcription, even PAing for reality shows). I started to get a little burned out when I realized I was doing all this work but had no clear direction or goals and that’s when running entered my life. Running was in part a much needed break from these things, but really it provided me with a lot of mental clarity and focus that I needed. Taking on the activity really taught me that with enough regular focus and have clear, realistic goals, you can eventually totally exceed your own expectations of yourself. What started as a lark turned into me running the Chicago Half Marathon. And that’s kinda what the movie is about, Kenny’s struggles are much more exaggerated and externalized in his jealousy, but in the end it’s really about him finding out more about the kind of person he really is.
What can the average runner relate to in the story?
I think the average runner will really be able to relate to what a true personal victory running can really feel like. I was never into athletics in my entire life, ever, I was always more the “band geek” type. So when I took up running, I was astonished by how after just a few weeks instead ending a run feeling winded and cramped, I actually felt really good and that I could keep going! I never knew I had it in me. So the question then became, if I feel like I can keep going, what are the limits? How far can I push this, if I really commit to it? And then answer was at least 13.1 miles. Crossing the finish line was really overwhelming emotionally, and I think Kenny’s journey in the film is that same overwhelming experience of becoming aware of something in yourself you had no idea existed.
What do you hope audiences will take away from this film?
Well for one, this being a kind of black comedy, laughs are obviously a goal of ours. There’s a lot of physical humor, Kenny over compensating for his lack of experience with a really expensive and equally garish green track suit for instance, and we’ve got a lot of fun set pieces planned as well. Any physical activity can be awkward when you’re first starting out and the film really aims to tap into that. Second, the hope is that people are also moved by the film. The film attempts to expose Kenny’s insecurities through the physical comedy and what we find is a really troubled guy who is trying to rebuild himself from the ground up and I think there’s something an audience can really connect to in that.
Why should we support your film?
I think this film really is about the Kenny that’s in all of us, the kind of person who’s made mistakes, has really tough obstacles ahead of themselves, and yet still has some capacity to persist, even if the solutions to these problems are a long way off. I think it’s not only a film with a real positive message, told with a real cinematic eye thanks in part to all of the great creative collaborators involved with the project, but also shows off our collective love for the city of Chicago. The Lakefront Trail is a place of personal significance to myself, and surely must be for other runners, and my hope is this film shares a little bit of that with the world. So if you like good movies and you like Chicago, we’d be humbled by any support to help us execute this vision.
Are there any local runners in or involved with the film?
Yes! Both myself and the producer have run the Chicago Half Marathon and continue to enjoy running and have some races planned for this year. Nick Dlouhy, who plays Duke, is also a runner and he and I both really bonded when we both similarly took up running at critical moments in our life.
When/where will the film be released?
After completion in late Spring. our goal is to compete in the independent film festival circuit starting in the summer and continuing through the rest of the year. With the niche of being a sports film and a film that showcases Chicago, we’re hoping the first opportunities to see the movie will be in festivals that highlight these themes. Additionally, anyone who contributes $50 or more to the film will receive a digital download copy of the movie once it becomes available. You can also “like” us on Facebook and continue to receive news about the progress of this film and where it can be seen.
If you would like to support Flat Feet, you can visit their Indiegogo page to make a donation. Even a donation as small as $5 will receive some sort of recognition, and donations starting at $26 will receive some tangible perks. And follow them on Facebook to for updates.