Cole Sax
Cole Sax
Director & Producer
 
 

Far From Home: Presented By Bridgestone

Throughout the world, aspiring winter athletes struggling with little support from their country put their lives, financial assets, and time on the line in hopes to compete and represent their country on the most significant competition stage in the world: the Winter Olympics. This documentary series follows six of the worlds most unlikely Winter Olympic athletes as they strive to break barriers and make history for their respective nations. From the Caribbean to the Himalayas, South America to the Middle East, these athletes share the dream of walking into the Olympic arena with the whole world watching as their country’s flag waves above them. This is the story of their inspiration. This is their journey.

Shot on location in:
Shiraz, Iran | Tehran, Iran | Albertville, France| Oberstdorf, Germany | Steg, Liechtenstein | Arezzo, Italy | New Delhi, India | Manali, India | Sao Paolo, Brazil | Kingston, Jamaica | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Seoul, South Korea | Lake Placid, New York | Park City, Utah | Calgary, Canada

 

Clients/Network:

 

Partners:
WZRD Media
Madica Productions
Boardwalk Pictures

Creators/Directors:
Cole Sax
Phil Hessler
Galen Knowles

Awards:
Telly Awards Gold: Series-Webseries
Telly Awards Silver: Series-Documentary
Telly Awards Silver: Series-Webseries: Non-Scripted


 
 
 

Not only has the show reached over 9M unique viewers, but we’ve heard nothing but glowing reviews internally from colleagues who have been wowed by the brilliant footage and inspiring profiles. Suffice to say the Olympics (and these Olympians) are now top of mind for millions of Snapchat Users around the world. Gold medals all around.
— Greg Justice, Manager of Sports Content, Snapchat

 
 
 

The Concept

The Olympic rings symbolize humanity’s most significant achievements in athletic ability and resilience. For decades, the Olympics have been a competition for the best of the best from around the world. Yet in 1988, Eddie the Eagle and the Jamaican Bobsled Team became household name despite never coming close to the podium. More importantly, they showed us that circumstances do not define your dreams, and that we all possess the potential to overcome odds. The six athletes in Far From Home are underdogs. Most come from countries without snow, let alone any infrastructure to support their ambitions.

My vision was to blend narrative elements with honest documentary filmmaking as we followed our athletes in the six months leading up to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. I wanted each film to represent not only a highly cinematic and authentic image of the athlete, but their country as well. My team and I created three different iterations of the series to showcase across mobile, digital, and linear television.

We spent 18 days shooting with each athlete. We ventured to our subjects’ home countries to highlight their personal lives. We then followed them on their path to the Olympics, shooting them training and competing in the Olympic qualifiers. 

 
 
 
 
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The Shoot

I broke down our visual language for this project into six separate categories as follows:

 

Main Interview

Our main interview with each athletes provided a window into the soul of our character and the bedrock of our episodes. We composed our main interviews with the athlete’s center frame with double the amount of headroom.

On Snow Competition

The moments captured during competition highlighted the unlikely country our athletes hailed from and their natural ability to perform in a winter environment. We shot competitions with a similar style to the training footage, but made the visual language smooth and graceful to showcase the clarity and elegance in the way our athletes exhibit their sport

Portraits

Cinematic portraiture played an essential role in the visual language of this series. We used portrait shots to showcase our athletes as bold and empowered trailblazers. We used a variety of gimbal systems to encompass a smooth movement while capturing portraits of our athletes in all categories of the visual language.

 

Training

Because our subjects hail from countries not known for winter sports, it was vital for us to capture their unique dryland training routines in a way that kept their environment and culture as authentic as possible. We wanted the training footage to be high energy, kinetic, and dynamic to bring the viewer into the world of our athletes.

Home and Road Life

These moments were slower than our previous approaches. We showcased the most relatable aspects of our athletes. We took a fly on the wall approach, showing our athletes interacting with people, items, and places important to their everyday life. We shot handheld to encompass subtle and organic movement.

Culture

We used visuals of our athletes’ cultures to symbolize the relevance of the Olympics to the challenges of today’s world. We focused on scenics that paint the landscape, faces from the locals that make up the community, the culinary taste of each country, and the set of unspoken and unwritten rules for working together.

 
 
 
 

The Gear

For the entirety of this production, we used a two camera RED setup consisting of the RED Epic and Scarlet. The RED Scarlet was used as our A camera and primarily used in conjunction with the EasyRig with Flowcine Serene attachment to create a fluid handheld motion. The RED Epic was our B camera and used on the Movi which was controlled remotely with Mimic and Teradek to create more cinematic and graceful movements for our shots.

 
 
 
 

 The Edit

The editing of this series started in pre-production with the series treatment I created. Our editors used this treatment as a roadmap for the story. See an example treatment here.

I created a specific post-production workflow that consisted of creating dallies from each day of shooting. From those dallies, we created a sequence of verite dialogue from that day, as well as b-roll selects. We transcribed the dialogue and built paper edits using the transcriptions. These paper edits followed the structure of the treatments created for each episode. As we started to construct rough cuts, we scheduled viewing sessions every week with the director and other key creatives to review the cut and provide feedback. It was up to the director to determine what feedback to incorporate as we got closer to client review.

We strived to keep the color as close to the natural colors of the vibrant shooting locations.

 
 
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Credits

Executive Producers: Cole Sax, Phil Hessler, Galen Knowles, Jeff Tahler, Dane Lillegard, Andrew Fried, Shawn Sachs

Co-Executive Producer: Sarah Lampert


Series Line Producer: 
Janet Wong
Series Casting: 
Zeppelin Zeerip
Series Assistant Editor: Jack Hessler
Series Office Manager: Hunter PIggot
Series Designer: David Herzog
Series Animator: Bruce Lim
Series Colorist: Kinan Chabani
Series Post Production Supervisor: Mike Lewis
Series Mix: Kenny Amacher and Chris Burton, Soularium Sound Studios

 

Episode 1

Julian Yee | Figure Skating | Malaysia


Director: 
Cole Sax
Producer: 
Chad Jackson
DP: 
Jacob Callaghan
Longform Editor: 
Jenirae Reynolds and Cam Boll
Shortform Editor: 
Joe Calardo
1st AC / Camera Op: 
Aiden Ulrich
2nd AC: 
Dylan Wineland
Field Producer: 
Emylee Kumar
Production Sound: 
Trifecta Collective


Episode 2

Shiva Keshavan | Luge | India


Director: 
Cole Sax & Phil Hessler
Producer: 
Phil Hessler & Cole Sax
DP: 
Ian Quill
AC: 
Dylan Wineland
Longform Editor: 
Patrick McDaniel & Cole Sax
Shortform Editor: 
Drew Barretto & Cole Sax
2nd Unit DP: 
Jacob Callaghan
2nd Unit AC: 
Aiden Ulrich
Field Producer: 
Tony Cordeaux (GoaFIlms TV)
Production Sound: 
Royston Dlima

Episode 3

Sojung | Ice Hockey | South Korea


Director: 
Elan Bentov
Producer: 
Kip Perry
DP: 
Jacob Callaghan
AC: 
Aiden Ulrich
Shortform Editor: 
Jacob Callaghan
Longform Editor: 
Cam Boll
Field Producer: 
Sejin Park
Production Sound: 
Live Motion Pictures, Inc


Episode 4

Carrie Russel & Jazmine Fenlator | Bobsleigh | Jamaica

Director: Cole Sax & Phil Hessler
Producer: 
Phil Hessler & Cole Sax
DP: 
Ian Quill
Shortform Editor: 
Drew Barretto
Longform Editor: 
Patrick McDaniel
AC: 
Dylan Wineland
2nd Unit Director: 
Jacob Oster
2nd Unit DP: 
Jacob Callaghan
2nd Unit AC: b
Field Producer: 
Carmen Franczyk
PA: 
Kenisha Gooden
2nd Unit PA: 
Hunter A Piggott
Production Sound: 
Andre Bidwell
2nd Unit Production Sound: 
Lydia Branscomb
Drone Operator: 
Override Films

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Episode 5

Forough Abbasi | Alpine Skiing | Iran

Director: Galen Knowles
Producer: 
Chad Jackson
DP: 
Jacob Callaghan
Longform Editor: 
Jahanara Saleh
Shortform Editor: 
Joe Calardo
AC: 
Aiden Ulrich
Local Producer: 
Farzad Pak (Film in Iran)
Production Coordinator: 
Tannaz Ahmadipour
Sound Recordist: 
Hossein Bashash
2nd Unit Director: 
Mahnaz Mohmmadi
2nd Unit DP: 
Gelareh Kiazand
2nd Unit Production Manager: 
Masoud Zamani
2nd Unit Camera Operator: 
Siavash Zargari
2nd Unit Sound Recordist: 
Saeed Zand
2nd Unit Camera Assistant: 
Ali Jalal
2nd Unit Production Coordinator: 
Tannaz Ahmadipour


Episode 6

Victor Santos | Cross Country Skiing | Brazil

Director: Elan Bentov
Producer: 
Kip Perry
DP: 
Phil Hessler
Longform Editor: 
Jack Hessler
Shortform Editor: 
Jack Hessler
AC: 
Dylan Wineland
Local Producer: 
Marcelo Bombarda & Mauro Tracco (Brazil Production Services – BPS)
Production Sound: 
Tiago Severiano
Drone Operator: 
Emerson Pena
2nd Unit DP: 
Ian Quill