There from Here (Film)
“There from Here” is an hour-long documentary from Pixela Films that celebrates the spirit of bikepacking and the unique experience of riding the 640-mile Vermont Super 8. With fantastic cinematography and editing, it dives into a group of riders’ deeply personal stories and touches on powerful themes of connection and appreciation. Find the film, photos, and some behind-the-scenes insight here…
The Vermont Super 8 is a 640-mile self-supported bikepacking adventure that takes riders to the Green Mountain State’s four corners using as little pavement as possible. There’s a grand depart each September, and a group of around 40 riders lined up for the 2021 edition. Among those at the start were serious competitors, riders looking to challenge themselves, and folks who simply wanted to get outside to reconnect with nature. Also among the starters was the Pixela Films team, who’d been following a group of riders throughout their preparation for the event and would attempt to capture their Vermont Super 8 experience.
The resulting film, There from Here, is a tribute to the riders who pushed themselves to their limits and a celebration of the people supporting them on their journey. More than just a documentary about a bike event, the film tells a story of gratitude, connection to the land, and admiration for overlooked wild places. It also explores themes of mental health, motivation, community, and perseverance. For a limited time, you can watch the hour-long film in its entirety below, followed by a handful of still photos and some words from co-director Jon Mercer.
“You’re uncomfortable, your legs burn…It’s temporary. We’re all temporary, and that’s the beauty of it.”
Behind the Film
Words by Jon Mercer, photos by Pixela Films (@pixelapicturafilms)
As filmmakers, co-director Tim O’Donnell and I have been drawn to individual and team sports as a way to explore social issues and personal connections. When we first heard about the Vermont Super 8, the thought of capturing such a wild experience in our home area of New England was really enticing. The result is our documentary, “There from Here,” a story about gratitude, a connection to the land, and an appreciation for the overlooked wild places in Vermont.
After a long absence, what I’ve found in my own experience of coming back to cycling through bike touring and bikepacking mirrors what I love about the riders we follow on their journey through the Super 8. A bikepacking route can be a proving ground—a test of limits, whether competitive or personal, or it can be an invitation to let go, to leave yourself open to the world and available to all encounters along the way. Getting to know the riders before the event was crucial to the storytelling process. The Vermont Bikepackers board, especially Daniel Jordan and Danielle Blanca, became close collaborators, helping us tell a story that goes beyond just the ride. We delve into the riders’ personal lives, exploring topics like family, relationships, mental health, and the communities that support them along the way.
Documentary filmmaking can be its own version of an endurance sport during the best conditions, but bringing cinema cameras into remote locations and coordinating three separate units across the state and over the course of the 10 days during the main event really brought the challenge. Riders and our filmmaking team really lucked out with weather but often met each other with similar levels of sleep deprivation and fatigue. We worked with Daniel to ensure that our filming wouldn’t impact the experience, and we agreed to keep certain details, like weather, location, and race position under wraps.
Making the film offered a chance to see some parts of Vermont I hadn’t experienced before, and what emerged during production was a genuine connection between riders and the land along with this admiration for the wild places that still exist in Vermont. Growing up in New England, I think there was always this sense of looking west for the real adventures—that elevation or square mileage somehow added up to more. If I were to find a positive in the travel restrictions of COVID, it’s in the re-exploring and appreciation of the outdoor spaces closer to home that I and a lot of the riders experienced. With that said, Vermont truly deserves to be recognized as a destination for the variety of experiences it can offer. We hope you enjoy the film.
Vermont Super 8 Route (South Lobe)
The Vermont Super 8 is an advanced bikepacking route featuring a lot of climbing and rugged terrain. It forms the shape of an “8” that connects throughout Vermont using gravel roads, some pavement, and many rugged pathways, rail trails, some singletrack, and Vermont’s famous Class 4 town highways. Currently only the South Lobe is available for public download, and you can see it below:
You can learn more about Pixela over at PixelaFilms.com.
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