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The Record Breaker

November 12, 2013 by   

The Record Breaker from Brian McGinn on Vimeo.

Wow. Where do I even begin? First off, this is one of the funnier videos I have seen in a while. Secondly, this man seems like he lives one of the greatest life’s for one simple reason: he is doing exactly what he wants to do. Ashrita Furman has set almost 400 Guinness World Records and has become the man with the most world records of all time. This video, The Record Breaker┬áis a documentary short of Ashrita’s life as he is training to set a new record for climbing Machu Picchu on stilts. This film has been the Winner of the Vimeo Audience Award at the 2013 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and Jury Prizes at the 2012 Palm Springs International ShortsFest and the 2013 New Orleans Film Festival.

The reason that this film has won so much acclaim is rather easy to see. It is a simple story with a complex character. Filmmaker Brian McGinn has brought to the screen one of the funniest and light hearted documentary pieces I have seen in a while. The two-camera interview’s with the main character and his mother and father were lit very well, with the shadow side of their faces towards the cameras, and the close-up and extreme close-up shots were framed very similarly to how we chose to frame Allyson in our interview set-up. Also, the use of detail shots in this piece is what I think makes it so strong, which helps the viewers see the action up close. Here we have a really interesting character and the filmmaker did a wonderful job of letting the camera capture the moments that truly showed us how happy and content this man is with his life. I was curious after watching this, how much time did McGinn actually share with this man in order to get all of this footage?



  1. says:

    Ashrita is such an interesting guy. I liked how during his training he would have set a record but that wasn’t good enough he wanted to go to the Machu Peachu. I loved how they introduced all of the different people with their text, I think my favorite was Champ the Dog, just because it was adorable.

  2. says:

    Great choice, Katelyn! I think this film, with it’s choice of subject matter, solves a problem that comes up often: Audiences bore easily. What quirky record will he try next? We never tire of seeing what new record Ashrita will attempt. And many of them have very good qualities for video, such as the slicing of the apples.

    The narrative spine works really well too! It is constructed so that we follow Ashrita’s attempt to climb Machu Picchu while exploring deeper issues related to Ashrita’s choice to follow the Guru and the life of a record breaker and how those choices affected his relationship with his father. Every once in a while we check on his progress with his training and then we dip back into the history and the motivations that have gotten him where he is now.

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