LWC Studios – the division launched last month by the former Lantigua Williams & Co. to include all existing and new original audio and film projects – has peeled back the curtain on its first foray into film. It has released the trailer for the 18-minute documentary film, “The Longest Race.” The feature follows two ultrarunners in Washington on their most ambitious races at the height of the COVID-19 crisis. It’s written, directed and edited by four-time Emmy Award-winning video journalist and documentary filmmaker Brittany Peterson, and is executive produced by Juleyka Lantigua, founder and CEO of LWC Studios.
“This film evokes and strengthens our commitment to centering the creator in our work, to finding stories in the seams of society that capture the essence of who we are today,” says Lantigua.
The film documents the journeys of ultramarathon runners Tamari Ramishvili and Chris Walsh, who plan and stage self-supported races — no cheering crowds, no aid stations, no medical tents. Walsh’s goal is to complete 20 marathons and 20 ultramarathons in one year. Ramishvili is determined to finish her first 100-mile race. As they run through Washington, the pair faces mental and physical challenges that the film’s creators say reveal who they really are.
“The grit, the commitment, the resilience personified by Tamari and Chris is mirrored by Brittany’s in her determination to get the film done amid an all-consuming pandemic,” says Lantigua.
Shot during the pandemic lockdown, LWC Studios says one major adjustment was having the protagonists film themselves on their smartphones, with Peterson periodically coming along on runs to film.
“A marathon runner and triathlete myself, I was drawn to the narrative of an athlete who was navigating the challenges presented by COVID – questions like where to scale back, and where to focus in,” says Peterson. “When I learned of Chris and Tamari’s stories, I noticed their interweaving narratives. Their goals were ambitious, yet they would not relinquish them when the pandemic struck. They became incredibly flexible in how they approached them, adjusting, but not quitting, revamping their plans and redefining what success would look like that year.”
The Longest Race is Peterson’s first independent documentary. The film has already been accepted into multiple national and international film festivals, including Newark International Film Festival (Sept. 8-12), Buenos Aires Running Film Festival, the Independent Short Awards in Los Angeles, Toronto Documentary Film & Short Film Festival, Miami Independent Short Film Festival, and Barcelona International Film Festival.
The podcast production studio Lantigua Williams & Co. reorganized and rebranded last month to reflect the growth in its client-side and originals programming. Its new LWC division will encompass all production and consulting work on behalf of clients like Marvel Entertainment, Macmillan Podcasts, The Globe & Mail, and Aspen Institute. LWC Studios will include all existing and new original audio and film projects.
During a panel discussion at Podcast Movement last month, Lantigua said the film will be the first of several to come out of her company. “We have been making films kind of quietly for the last two years, and now we’re really ready to launch the full-blow film side of the production company and it’s been on the strength of our podcasts, and our team,” she said.
Launched in 2017, what is now LWC has created podcasts such as Driving the Green Book from Macmillan Podcasts, winner of this year’s Ambie for Best History Podcast, Latina to Latina hosted by Alicia Menendez, which recently surpassed one million lifetime downloads, and Our Body Politic, a weekly NPR-syndicated political analysis show.