Australian audiences will finally get their chance to see The Road to Sparta when it screens at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival next month.

The first film collaboration between directors Barney Spender and Roddy Gibson, the award-winning documentary will feature as part of the Sports category of the festival.

“It is fantastic for the film to have been selected to screen in a city, which is not only mad about its sport, but is also packed with Aussies of Greek heritage,” said Spender.

“The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival is one of the top festivals in the world so we are rubbing shoulders with a lot of great films and terrific filmmakers. It’s very exciting.”

The 60-minute documentary follows four runners in their quest to take on the Spartathlon. The gruelling race kicks off in Athens in searing heat, with participants committing to a distance of 246 kilometres in an attempt to reach the finish line in Sparta.

The film centres around the preparations of teacher Mark Woolley, project manager Rob Pinnington, Athens nurse Angela Terzi, and Dean Karnazes, also known as ‘UltraMarathon Man’. Whether it is their first time participating, or they are seasoned participants, finishing the race is ultimately no certainty for any of them.

Rob Pinnington features in ‘The Road to Sparta’, and reveals his personal struggle and desperation to successfully finish his next attempt at the Spartathlon after his previous two bids ended in failure.

Meanwhile there is a fifth runner featured in the documentary whose fate is well and truly cemented – that of Pheidippides who was sent by the Athenians in 490 BCE to ask the Spartans for military help against the Persians; the same run that is replicated each year with the Spartathlon.

His story is told through the verse of the acclaimed American poet AE Stallings and the vibrant specially-written score by Greek band Old House Playground.

‘The Road to Sparta’ will screen as part of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival on Tuesday 10 July at Loop Project Space & Bar (23 Meyers Place, Melbourne, VIC) at 7.00 pm. To purchase tickets, visit

Watch the trailer here: