The sheer pain involved in riding over 18 mountains in eight days in the annual FireFlies charity cycling challenge is vividly captured in 1000 frames per second in a fundraising film by Chris Cairns
The FireFlies was established in 2001 by Sandy Watson Scott (then Head of TV, M&C Saatchi) in recognition of relatives and friends’ battles with Cancer. Each year, amateur cyclists from the advertising and film world take on the FireFlies challenge to ride across the Alps from Lake Geneva to Cannes to raise money for Leuka, a charity formed to support Research & Treatment of Leukaemia at the Hammersmith Hospital in London.
The event is timed so that the cyclists arrive in Cannes during the International Advertising Festival, guaranteeing publicity for the cause.
To promote this year’s ride, Partizan director Chris Cairns shot a one minute 20 second fundraising film featuring various creatives, directors, producers, art directors, 3D artists, a modelmaker and music producers who have either ridden in past FireFlies events or are taking part this year.
“I love the FireFlies. Unfortunately I can’t ride with them this year so I decided to make a film to support their cause. I asked FireFlies old and new to help me and all gave freely of their time and knowledge,” Cairns says. “We shot a group of FireFlies, veterans and virgins, at 1000 frames per second to show in detail some of the sweating, spitting, and snotting that they experience as they make their way over the Alps. For everyone it’s hard. For some it’s a real struggle. This small physical effort is nothing when compared to what people suffering from cancer have to endure. It’s for these people that we ride our bikes.”
After Cairns shot each rider, photographer Richard Lewisohn shot portraits of the riders (below) as well as photographing them in action (image shown top).
And here’s a ‘making-of’ for the film
You can donate money to this year’s FireFlies here.