21. Dean Leslie – the gentle art of storytelling (Wandering Fever & Salomon Running TV)

Aug 9, 2020


Dean Leslie is a South African filmmaker who is the founder of Wandering Fever, a company born out of a love for the wild and the ability to tell stories through film. Dean is responsible for most of Salomon TV’s summer films and has been for the last seven years. He has played a pivotal role in how trail and ultra running is documented around the world.

Dean’s work has taken him to every continent, chasing down the world’s foremost endurance athletes and documenting the ways in which we interact with some of the world’s most stunning landscapes. Over the past decade he has spent most of his time on the road, a topic we discuss extensively. With Dean’s belief that ‘passion & balance are mutually incompatible’. We discuss the other spheres of his life which were neglected during his filmmaking career, and how he now has a consciousness in what it takes to pursue a passion.

What I admire about Dean’s work is that it explores the human struggle in endurance (both the professional and personal ones) with compassion not drama. His films show a curiosity and engagement with locals and the nature, without blindly exoticizing foreign places and peoples.

This conversation explores the trajectory of Deans career (from animation to photography to film) and his belief that if you say YES to something you need to be 100% in, regardless of the financial reward.

We also discuss:

  • the filmmakers voice in a story
  • His relationship with childhood friend Ryan Sandes
  • The relationship and trust he fosters with his subjects
  • Early challenge in making running look ‘cool’, yet its similarity to surfing with expansive landscapes and the solitude figure
  • Meeting fascinating people from Scott Jurek, Tony Krupicka, Caballo Blanco
  • The early grind of reporting and documenting races
  • The importance of looking for niche pockets – where he moved away from documenting races/competition to focus on the human story
  • His relationship and autonomy with Salomon TV
  • The difference between a documentary and an advert…. the truth!
  • The stress and depression that emerged through the Great Himalayan Project, and how he got out of it
  • The cathartic process of editing.
  • Life as a Dad

This is a ripper, you can find Dean ~ http://wanderingfever.com/

socials @thewanderingfever and vimeo – https://vimeo.com/wanderingfever


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