Synopsis: Available June 4th Only!
When he was only eight, Guor Mading Maker (known as Guor Marial) ran from capture in war-torn Sudan to eventually seek safety in the US. In his new life, Marial began running again, participating in high school track and field and eventually becoming a sensation and qualifying for the 2012 Olympics. But because the newly formed South Sudan was not recognized by the International Olympic Committee, Marial had to fight to compete independently, refusing to run for Sudan and taking a stand against its oppression. Runner depicts Marial’s difficult and triumphant journey from refugee to world-renowned athlete, told in intimate interviews with gorgeously animated flashbacks of Guor’s upbringing and culminating in a heart-wrenching reunion with his parents after a 20-year separation.
We follow Guor Maker, our protagonist, for six years to eight countries on five continents as he tries to be the first person from his new country of South Sudan to qualify for the Olympics. This attempt becomes a hero’s journey that provides a framing device for the film, and through that frame we see the effects of war on family and a community. We also see both the sacrifices Maker makes and the help he receives along the way. In the end, this film is not about a man who wins the gold medal; instead we witness a world-class athlete’s intense physical and emotional struggles. And because we’re able to view Maker’s imperfection, it is easy to identify with our protagonist. He is both the everyman and the “other” at the same time.