For independent filmmaker and Chandler resident George Delalis, five years of hard work was finally recognized at the Mammoth Film Festival in California Dec. 8-12, when his film won best documentary.
Delalis and his wife, Eve Drinis, were the creators of a film called Fast Women, about four women runners from the same running group trying to qualify for the Olympic trials and the Boston Marathon.
Delalis said he met the women when he began running with the group in 2003. He noticed in this running club, the Bandidos in Scottsdale, there were many talented runners but the super stars were the women.
At the time only four women in the entire state had qualified for the Olympic trials and two of those women were from the Bandidos. Delalis decided to focus his film on four women in the group, two of which were from Ahwatukee Foothills. Three of the women were trying for the Olympics and a fourth woman had suffered a devastating stroke at the age of 32 and was trying to recover and make it to the Boston Marathon.
Throughout the film the women face many struggles. The group's coach left them after divorcing his wife, who was one of the featured runners. The women also had to face physical challenges and juggle their every day lives as mothers and working women.
Delalis said the filming began in 2005 and ended in April of 2008, but the editing took a long time. When it was all done they sent the film to many different festivals hoping to be selected for a screening.
Their wish came true when they heard back from the Mammoth Film Festival. This past weekend they headed to California to see their film on the big screen.
"We were really excited," Delalis said before the festival. "It's a big step. Everyone who does an independent movie, one of the best things you can look forward to is getting screened at a film festival so we're really excited to go out there."
After the festival Delalis was proud to take home the award for best documentary.
For now Fast Women is not being screened anywhere, but Delalis hopes it will gain more recognition and be picked up for more festivals, hopefully closer to home in Arizona.
"We're hoping it gets picked up by some other festivals and, ultimately, we hope that we can get a distributor to be able to show the movie around the country in different theatres," Delalis said. "I think people can relate to this movie whether or not they're runners. They're just universal stories about people who are really dedicated and driven. I think it just shows that hard work and determination can get you where you want to go."
For more information on the film and to see a trailer, visit www.26two.com.
Allison Hurtado is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a junior at Arizona State University.