Filmmakers Henry Terry & Marcus Brooks have been working together for many years and most recently by founding Out The Boot Productions. The Ambitious 220 is a challenge set by Rapha in aid of the charity Ambitious About Autism. The event follows the 220 mile route between Manchester and London. In 2021, Rapha set the challenge worldwide, to ride a 220 mile route of your own choosing over a leisurely 48 hours, however, four friends from Manchester challenged themselves to complete the task in just 20.
Ambitious 220 screened at the Manchester Lift-Off Film Festival. We interviewed Directors Henry and Marcus to hear more about the spontaneous production of the documentary, their documentary filmmaking inspirations, and the exciting and inspiring project that they’re working on next.
Ambitious 220 has been officially nominated for Best Feature Documentary for the 2023 Lift-Off Season Awards.
Interview by Ollie Baines
What is your film about? And why did you want to make it?
“Ambitious 220 follows the journey of four friends as they tackle a 220 mile charity bike ride for Ambitious About Autism, in 24 hours. From South Shields in Newcastle, over to Carlisle, down through the Lakes and Kendal, ending in Manchester.
“The project was initially pitched as a few shots of the riders as they pass through the Lakes, to get some cool videos for Instagram, that soon grew into filming the entire ride, four of us packed into a small car and hanging ‘Out The Boot’ to film everything in the same 24 hours. The film was our first feature length project, and really gave us the opportunity to experiment with filmmaking and story telling techniques we now use day to day.”
Who are your 3 biggest filmmaking inspirations and why?
“One film that really brought us together as Filmmakers was The Farthest by Emer Reynolds, it follows the story of NASA’s Voyager missions, told by the people who made it happen. The combination of spectacular visuals and archive, alongside a beautifully crafted narration of interviews, truly influenced our approach to telling factual stories.
“We knew going into Ambitious 220, we wanted to feature the production crew in some sense, possibly as a short package at the end of the film, similar to David Attenborough’s Planet Earth. But that idea -like the project itself – again grew, introducing the crew as characters in the story, showing our challenge, albeit with heated seats! One film that really explores this whilst also teaching us to roll with the punches and follow the story not the script, was The Amazing Johnathan Documentary by Ben Berman. As things go wrong and plans change, follow them and just pray something exciting happens.
“And finally, Free Solo by Jimmy Chin, documenting Alex Honnold’s attempt to be the first person to free solo climb the famed El Capitan rock face in Yosemite National Park. How the film visualises his route, demonstrates his technique, and breaks down the mindset that allowed him to take on such a feat, really spoke to us. Free Solo also included the perspective of the film crew, who had the difficult task of documenting Honnold as he risked his life for the challenge. Yes, our riders didn’t have quite as much at stake, but both challenges share common sense of ambition and achievement that will last for years to come.”
What is next for you as filmmakers?
“Following Ambitious 220, our careers have really taken shape and we’ve almost swapped places – Marcus was an in-house Videographer for an ed-tech platform and is now freelancing, and Henry, previously freelancing, is now in-house for an athlete support platform. Nevertheless, we’re both working on amazing projects that challenge our skillsets as filmmakers.
“We are still working together and up next for us as ‘Out The Boot’ is really exciting! We’re currently working with a fantastic charity, ‘Cyclists Fighting Cancer’, who help children and young people living with cancer across the UK, to regain their physical fitness and mental wellness through cycling! We’re producing a range of video projects and hope to tie it all together in a big film to help raise awareness of the amazing work they do.”
Don’t forget to view the complete Season Awards Nominations list for the Lift Off Season Awards 2023.