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Melanie Manchot : Tracer

Commissioned by Great North Run Culture, Melanie Manchot’s film features ten North East parkour runners, or traceurs, making their way along the course of the Bupa Great North Run. Tracer is a portrait of the landscape of the North East and the incredible feats these young performers are capable of.

Parkour, or freerunning, has become more popular since featuring in movies such as Casino Royale and The Bourne Ultimatum. Melanie’s film proposes a new perspective on this exciting discipline: filmed in long takes, it focuses on how the parkourists trace a route across spaces, interacting with and becoming part of the urban environment.

Filming for Tracer started in the early hours of the morning on the day of the 2012 Great North Run when the team from Apeuro Freerunning performed an amazing display in the underpass of the closed central motorway in Newcastle city centre before tens of thousands of runners streamed through. Since then, Melanie has captured some incredible footage including one of the parkourists on the roof of The Sage Gateshead, another running along the top of the Newcastle Swing Bridge while in motion as a film crew captured all the action from the top the Tyne Bridge Towers and a group portrait of hundreds of Great North Runners at both the start and finish areas of the Run on race day last September.

Melanie explains, "I’m working with a group of local parkour runners to re-imagine the architecture and spaces along the route of the Great North Run through the amazing discipline and philosophy of parkour. Through the parkourists’ movements these iconic, atmospheric locations are re-articulated and brought to life in unexpected ways. Andrew performed a very sculptural move and handstand on the roof of The Sage, which will look stunning outlined against the aesthetic of this unique building and the skyline beyond.”

Beth Bate, Director Great North Run Culture, said, "We're delighted to be working with Melanie to show the course of the Bupa Great North Run in a completely new way. Every year we invite artists to apply for our Moving Image Commission and every year we’re amazed at the talent and the diversity of ideas out there. Whether they focus on the runners, the elite athletes, the landscape or its incredible heritage, it seems the Run has the ability to continue to inspire artists in new and exciting ways.”

Funders and partners

In Motion programme supported by:
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Related Artist

Melanie Manchot

Melanie Manchot

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