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Sections & Films


Category: Edition 2020

Based on a true story, THE GREAT ALASKAN RACE tells the story of Leonhard Seppala, his dog Togo, and how they save the small town of Nome, Alaska from a deadly diphtheria outbreak in 1925. Leonhard Seppala was a Norwegian fisherman who moved to Nome to become a goldminer. While mining, he also became a champion dog musher. In our telling, he soon fell in love with a local Innuit woman, Kiana, and they married and had a little girl together. When Kiana tragically passes away, soon after childbirth, Sepp is lost in his grief for many years, staying separate from the local community of Nome and warms only towards his daughter, Sigrid. In the winter of 1925, a diphtheria outbreak hits the town amidst a horrible blizzard, and the hospital doesn’t have any of the necessary medicine. The whole town is at risk. Seppala, along with several other brave mushers, volunteer to brave the storm with their dogs to travel 674 miles to where the antitoxin serum is stuck in Nenana, as the storm was too intense for trains or planes to make it through. Sepp leaves his daughter with Constance, the daughter of Dr. Welch and a mother figure to his young girl and sets out with Togo and the rest of his team.

Category Out of competition
Section Premiere
Tipology Feature Film
Duration 84'
Production Year 2019
Nationality USA
Directed by Brian Presley
Screenplay Brian Presley
Director of photography Mark David
Editor Gabriel Ordóñez, Mark David, Brian Presley
Production Design Jena Serbu
Costume Design Rebecca Bertot
Music John Koutselinis
Visual Effects Sean Leigh Hart,, Devyn Reggio
Main cast Brian Presley
Treat Williams
Brad Leland
Henry Thomas
Bruce Davison
Will Wallace
Brea Bee
Emma Presley
James Russo
Produced by Brian Presley, Timothy Patrick Cavanaugh, Mark David, Will Wallace

Brian Presley is an experienced producer, actor, writer, and director. He attended the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. Then he found success as an actor starring in films such as STREETS OF BLOOD with Val Kilmer and Sharon Stone, which was released in 2009, HOME OF THE BRAVE for MGM with Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel, Chad Michael Murray, Christina Ricci and Curtis “50-Cent” Jackson and BORDERLAND for Lions Gate Films alongside Sean Astin. In 2010 he produced ONCE FALLEN with Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, Taraji Henson, Alison Eastwood, Peter Greene and Peter Weller and in 2011 TOUCHBACK, with Kurt Russell and Melanie Lynsey. Brian wrote, starred in, directed, and produced THE GREAT ALASKAN RACE, with Treat Williams, Bruce Davison, Brad Leland, Brea Bee, and Henry Thomas, scheduled for release in 2020. Most recently, Brian wrote, directed and produced THE ORPHAN TRAIN, currently in post-production.

Director's statement
"The journey it took to finally make THE GREAT ALASKAN RACE felt at times almost as difficult as the journey depicted in the film itself. I first had the idea to make this movie almost 10 years before I was finally able to. All of Hollywood told me I wouldn’t be able to achieve this grand scale period film with dogs, kids, and harsh weather at an independent level, but I knew it was a story I was called to tell. Every other film or book about the Great Serum Run of Nome, Alaska in1925 depicts Balto and Gunnar Kassan as the heroes, but in researching thehistory I found that a lead sled dog named Togo and his owner Leonhard Seppalahad in fact covered the most distance and were the true saviors of the peopleof Nome. Their stories very much deserved to be told, so I knew I wanted towrite my script from Seppala’s perspective. When I first started researchingthe subject, I actually went up to Alaska and spent 8 days in negative25-degree weather participating in a real dog-sledding expedition along theBering Sea. This way, I could fully understand the kind of person it takes tolive up there in such harsh conditions. I gained so much respect for the toughness of spirit that these men anddogs had, and the vastness of circumstance they truly had to overcome in orderto save the town of Nome. The power of their spirits, and the strength of faiththey must have had motivated the version of Seppala and Togo’s story I chose totell. To me, the ultimate message of The Great Alaskan Race is that from trueselflessness and faith, especially in the most adverse of conditions, can beborn the most powerful version of love".


Rebel Road Entertainment

international distribution
Fortitude International

Italian distribution
Notorious Pictures