I was always in awe of John’s stories of his professional cycling days. I would ask him many questions and that was how I learned that he was writing short stories about his experiences, while he was competing all over the world.
As a filmmaker I immediately saw a blank canvas in front of me that I wanted to fill with one of John’s stories. He accepted my suggestion to make a film and gave me a stack of paper on which he had printed many of these stories that were filled with incredible lines, which immediately turned into images in my mind.
After I finished reading the stories and talking to John to learn more, I learned about his pre race rituals, which seemed very interesting. However after digging deeper, John revealed a private story that became the heart of our soon to be collaboration on Tiny Robot.
John told me the story of his son Romeo, who was born premature on would only live 17 days. The pain was enormous for John and going back to cycling was his only way to escape the agony. Getting back into the saddle and riding hard, would give his mind a chance to disengage temporarily to think about Romeo.
Tiny Robot is a film that we made with John about his experience. It took us close to 3 years to finish it, because unlike the story itself, pushing forward everyday was not an option for us. We had to follow a pace, which would allow both of us to navigate through the delicate pathways of this experience. We were in no rush. The experience was like letting water run down a mountain and let it find its own path until it reaches its destination. Our film also found its own aim as we moved forward step by step.
This project would have never been realized if it weren’t for the kindness of John, Lisa and Eros to share their experience. This story is for Romeo and them, and for all of you who have experienced hardship in life. There is a way out of suffering for all of us, only if we allow ourselves to pass over the mountain and find the path down.