Robin Lee has released another Hong Kong trail picture, but the process and film are different from his Banff Mountain Film Festival finalist movie Breaking 60.
Breaking 60 is a feature-length film that follows four runners taking part in the 298 kilometre non-stop Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge, but the new Is This Fun is a short film showing John Ellis and Jo Kyaw running The 9 Dragons.
WATCH FULL FILM: Is This Fun?
“Filming it was more hectic, but more controlled [than Breaking 60]”, Lee said. “During Breaking 60 the runners were wildly different standards and there was 17 hours between the first and the last runner we were following.”
But The 9 Dragons is a two-day event, with a 50-mile race on the first day and a 50km-race on the second. Runners can take part in one, the other or both distances – Ellis and Kyaw ran both.
“So it was more hectic as we had to rush to each place or we’d miss them, but when we got there we sort of knew when they would pass and they weren’t that far from each other,” Lee said.
The runners in Breaking 60 were interviewed months before the event, but in Is This Fun, the interviews were post-race.
“I wanted it to be a reflection,” said Lee. “All the runners in Breaking 60 were going into the unknown, but not at The 9 Dragons, where they’d run 50km or 50 miles before.”
Aside from the length, Lee believes the camera work creates a unique experience for the viewer.
“It is quite cinematic,” he said. “There is a part where John is climbing Needle Hill. I stuck the camera right in his face, so it is quite an immersive feeling. Usually, with trail films you have wide images from far away of impressive ridge lines.”
Lee added that the personalities of Ellis and Kyaw help make a good viewing experience.
“There is a contrast,” he said. “John is hyper-competitive, you can see he is focused and wants to win. But as soon as you see him cross the finish line and break down you move to Kyaw.
“She is still competitive, she wants to win, but she is calm and never seemed stressed.”