WTTW airs Davies’ amazing “25,000 Mile” journey doc

Worldwide runner Serge Roetheli and filmmaker John Davies

A documentary about the impossible journey taken by a Swiss endurance athlete running around the world over five years will debut on WTTW/11 Thursday, Sept. 24 before airing on 330 public television stations.

The 25,000 Mile Love Story” was written and directed by John Davies (“Phunny Business: A Black Comedy”), a long time executive producer at Ch. 11, and co-produced by Brian Kallies, who also edited.

Narration was delivered by John Ridley, the Oscar winning writer/EP of “12 Years a Slave.”

The hourlong doc captures the story of runner Serge Roetheli and his wife, Nicole, who followed along on a motorcycle loaded with supplies, in his desire to raise money to help impoverished children throughout the world. 

From 2000 to 2005, they traveled 25,000 miles through six continents and 35 countries.

Their recorded footage added up to nearly 100 hours when the project was given to Davies by an LA producer and former major studio executive, who organized funding and distribution.

When Kallies flew out to LA from Chicago, Davies rented a furnished two bedroom apartment at the Oakwood, in LA, and converted one bedroom into an editing suite.

“We were basically locked in there for six months and when we emerged, we had a film,” Davies says.

“It was an interesting story and an unusual assignment,” Kallies comments. “Serge and Nicole basically shot home movies and we had to find a story in it.”

Serge Roetheli followed by his wife on the motorcycle“We heard they went through nine consumer grade cameras, shot in PAL and NTSC, in different aspect ratios and frame rates. We had to sort through all of them and covert them to PAL and NTSC,” Davies says.

But in screening the footage, they were relieved to find it was largely in sequence, assembled in the order of the countries they visited.

During the couple’s journey, they were confronted with extreme weather, civil unrest and a variety of life-threatening events but these events weren’t captured, Kallies says. 

“Serge said he didn’t want to shoot the bad stuff because bad stuff happens all the time. He wanted to shoot the good.”

Since its completion in 2013, “The 25,000 Mile Journey” has won “Best Documentary” in 10 of the worldwide festivals in which it has showcased.

Kallies, a Chicagoan, moved to LA permanently after finishing the doc.  Since then, he and Davies have produced another documentary that will debut Memorial Day 2016.

And Davies was just informed that Ch. 11 bought “Phunny Business,” to premiere Feb. 16, 2016 during Black History Month.