The Champions

The Champions, a film by Darcy Dennett

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This film strips away stereotypes and breaks down barriers. This film makes you feel something. I am finding it hard to put in to words how incredible it was to follow along as we watch 5 of over the 50 pit bulls that were at one time part of Michael Vick’s dog-fighting ring, come to life. We also get to see another pit bull rescue, Slater, remain in a loving and healthy environment despite his battle with breed discrimination.

As much as I want to stand on my soap box and preach about how terrible it is what Michael Vick has done and how I don’t feel he could ever possibly redeem himself, I want to focus on the hope that these dogs and their caregivers share throughout the course of the film. A hope, that in this crazy world, we could all use a little bit more of.

Filmmaker Dennett and her team told not only an amazing story about these heroic dogs and the unconditional love they were given by rescue organizations across the country as well as individuals who fostered and ultimately adopted them, but she captivated me with beautiful cinematography and meaningful and poetic score. The film was visually stimulating as well as a wonderful web of stories.

I would recommend this film to anyone who not only loves animals, but loves a story about an underdog, no pun intended. These dogs, against all odds were brought back to life. They were given a second chance. I think this film has the power to change the way the world sees pit bulls. The Champions is a story of resilience; Cherry, Slater, Little Red, Handsome Dan, Mel, and Johnny, overcome what could have been the end and found peace, love, life, and happiness.





The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young

The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young, a film by Annika Iltis & Timothy James Kane 


I hadn’t heard of this film until it popped up on my Netflix queue and I am so glad that it did. The filmmakers take us back to the epic journey of those racing in the 2012 Barkley Marathons.

Up until this point, there had only been 10 finishers of the 100 mile race since it’s conception in 1986. Gary Cantrell, former ultra-marathon runner and creator of the Barkley Marathons, has been driven by challenges his entire life. With his love of chasing the limit and an inspiration from James Early Ray’s prison escape into the woods of what is now part of the race route, the birth of the Barkley Marathons began.

With Gary’s help and all those participating in the 2012 race, we are able to join in the hellish, but heroic journey of 35 runners over the course of 60 hours.

Although I’ve only become a runner in the last few years and have fallen in love with the sport, I couldn’t imagine attempting something as profound as the Barkley Marathons. Watching the runners as they proceed on the course and hearing their thoughts along the way was very inspirational. Gary says, “…people that go through this, they are better for it. They’re not made of better stuff than other people, but they’re better for what they have asked of themselves.”

This is film that motivates, encourages, and awakens the desire to challenge ourselves to be our best person.