Last August, local gym Gate 14 led a community “4x4x48” fitness challenge. Filmmaker John Jenkins captured it on camera and produced an award- winning documentary.
By Maureen Kingsley
Two years ago, at the start of the COVID pandemic shutdown, Ediz Basol, co-owner of Gate 14 Composite Training in El Segundo, remembers brainstorming with his friend and business partner, Alfred “Al” Brown, about how to motivate their fitness clients during that uncertain and challenging time. “Gyms were really struggling to find ways to keep their doors open and their members engaged,” Ediz recalls. “At Gate 14, we came up with our Gate Outdoors program, which provided our members with safe workouts outdoors: at the beach, in the mountains, in the desert, and within the city.”
Gate Outdoors proved successful and popular with members, so Ediz and Al kept thinking creatively and innovatively about ways to promote fitness safely as the pandemic continued. “I had heard about the Goggins Challenge,” Ediz says, “and I’d always wanted to try it. I thought maybe we could do it here at Gate 14.” The challenge is named for its creator, David Goggins, an ultra-endurance athlete and former U.S. Navy SEAL, and asks participants to run four miles every four hours for 48 hours. Also known as “4x4x48,” the Goggins Challenge totals 48 miles run over the course of two 24-hour days, with four hours of rest between each leg. Ediz and Al decided to lead a Gate 14 4x4x48 for their own members, adding an original “Olympic twist” on the concept, Ediz explains, in the form of a weight-lifting component after every run.
The Gate 14 fitness community embraced the idea, and, in August 2021, on the same weekend as the El Segundo Art Walk, the Gate 14 4x4x48 got underway—and so did the filming of the event by Gate 14 member, video editor, and post-production professional John Jenkins.
“My approach for filming this challenge,” says John, “was essentially to show up with my gear and see what happened.” A video-production veteran known to take on side projects that personally interest him, such as a documentary he’s producing about the highly ranked Mira Costa High School boys’ soccer team, John is also a long-time friend of Gate 14 co-owner Al Brown and an enthusiastic member of the Gate 14 community himself. He says of shooting the 4x4x48, “My budget for the entire film was gas money. I showed up equipped with a backpack and a tripod, and carrying a camera—my goal was to tell the story of this event as if 40 people were working on it.” In reality, he was essentially a one-man operation, with some valuable help from his wife and creative partner, Gaelyn, who sometimes held a second camera and sometimes drove their car while John “hung out the window” shooting footage, he explains. Gaelyn also added title treatments in postproduction. During some legs of the 4x4x48, John says, he had his young sons riding along in the car, too.
“The trick with this kind of short-documentary filmmaking,” he says, “is being in the right place at the right time—which has a lot to do with your level of experience and with luck. And secondly, you need to be prepared to tell a story with the equipment you’ve got with you.” Fortunately for this shoot, John had experience and luck on his side, his supportive family in his car, his equipment at the ready, and frequent social-media updates from Ediz to help guide him narratively.
“We let John just do his thing,” Ediz adds. “We knew he’d produce something that he and we would love.”
The result is an engaging 20-minute film, 4x4x48, that captures the spirit of community, friendly competition, and determination that permeated the local 4x4x48 event. (It is full of El Segundo scenery, too.) The film’s universal appeal, authenticity, high-level production, and skillful use of music have earned it spots at numerous film festivals, including California Indies, Houston International Sports Film Festival, Venice Shorts, and the Sports Fitness & Recreation Film Festival. It was honored as a semi-finalist at both the San Francisco Indie Short Festival and the Austin International Art Festival, and it won Best Web and New Media film at IndieX and Best Short or Micro at the Shorts Showcase Film Festival.
In addition to its numerous accolades earned from film festivals throughout California and beyond, 4x4x48 has garnered admiration and appreciation closer to home. “We did a screening for everyone at our gym,” Ediz recalls, “complete with a popcorn machine for our members. They were all blown away! I know I, personally, was super drawn-in by the film the whole time. Everyone was really impressed.” He says the film will forever serve as a reminder of “one of those weekends that was so special and brought us all closer together as a community. We were filthy, sore, hurting, and eating pb&j sandwiches for two days. We formed a tight bond.”
View the film 4x4x48 on YouTube. Visit Gate 14 at its new location in El Segundo at 130 E. Grand Avenue, Suite F, situated between Domino’s and Cold Stone Creamery. Find more information about Gate 14 online at gate14.net.
This story appears in the April 2022 issue of The El Segundo Scene.