Film featuring celebrated Coach Bob Larsen screens at Minaret Cinemas on Monday
Bob Larsen is a big part of the reason Mammoth residents get to see Olympians speeding past them on running trails, and a film featuring his life and achievements will screen at Minaret Cinemas on Monday, August 29.
“City Slickers Can’t Stay With Me,” a film by Larsen’s protege Robert Lusitana, shares the story of a man who “brought American distance running to a competitive level again,” as Larsen himself told The Sheet on August 3. Larsen was recently in Mammoth training Olympian Mebrahtom “Meb” Keflezighi, who at the age of 41 ran in the Olympic Marathon in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, August 21. Meb (along with Denna Kastor) is considered one of “Mammoth’s” Olympians—he spent twelve years living and training in the Eastern Sierra. He’s also probably Larsen’s most famous pupil—Meb made headlines after he won the 2014 Boston Marathon, a year after 2013 bombing and the first American to do so in 31 years. He is featured heavily in the film, along with sweeping shots of the Mammoth skyline, Lakes Basin and Long Valley. Jeff Durkin, the Director of Photography, said in a video interview for the film’s media kit that “I wanted to approach this project as almost similar to a surf film, even though it’s a running film… so these surf films and the aesthetic of someone surfing out the ocean, big open space, landscape filmmaking, kind of became this visual style.”
Durkin, who has a background in architecture and design, said that the landscapes and natural environments involved in making the movie gave him an immense amount of material to work with. “We start out in the snowy fields of Minnesota… where Coach [Larsen] grew up. Juxtaposed with the streets of London during the 2012 [Olympic marathon], then in Mammoth when Meb and Coach are training on Green Church Road.”
Durkin also talked about filming some of the fastest people in the world. “So the biggest…hurdle in filming runners is that they’re running away from you! You’re trying to get a beautiful shot and boom, they’re gone.” Durkin said that to combat this challenge, “We strategically tackle where we’re going to place cameras.” They attached a camera to the back of a mountain bike to film Meb flying down Mammoth’s trails.