The North Face

A US-based team filmed a Canadian ultramarathon runner in the Italian Alps, along with Afghan women runners, using to stay creatively connected while producing the powerful documentary, “Free to Run.”

See how the team overcame multiple challenges to create the film across two continents.


Dream Lens Media directors Carrie and Tim Highman approached ultramarathon runner and UN human rights attorney Stephanie Case about shooting a documentary centered around the NGO she founded to enable Afghan women to run freely. Case became a brand ambassador for The North Face, and with their sponsorship the team embarked on a production intended to follow Case through the grueling 450 km Tors des Glacier and then to a two-week event in the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan. But when the Taliban took over Kabul just weeks before the race, their plans and the scope of the story took a major detour.


With the directors themselves capturing Case’s arduous 155-hour run and an Australian cinematographer in Kabul filming the takeover as it unfolded, editorial house Bruton Stroube/Outpost in St. Louis relied on features in the Adobe Creative Cloud to cull through the approximately 80 hours of video—and on to collaborate creatively with Carrie, Tim, and multiple other stakeholders as they shaped the mountain of footage into a 30-minute film.


Not only did Case break the women’s record for completing the race by 30 hours, the film has also served to raise awareness for the plight of the Afghan women who were forced to leave their families and flee to the US. The North Face accomplished their goal to bring important women’s rights stories to light. And Dream Lens Media and Outpost continue to develop this project into a feature-length documentary.

We had so many people wanting different things from the project. A global brand with a large team and a non-profit…there were a lot of people weighing in. So to be able to put all your notes in exactly where you need them makes it so tidy and clear.”

Carrie Highman Director, Dream Lens Media

The cloud helped Sundance move a mountain.

The cloud increases speed

"The Daily Recap” includes footage from the many events occurring from morning till night. The Camera to Cloud workflow, which enabled the editors to receive footage in automatically after each take was captured, let them begin their work immediately. Because they no longer needed to wait for drives to be delivered or to receive footage from the night’s events after they were over, they were more easily able to hit their midnight deadlines so that Digital Cinema Packages could be made for the next-day's screenings.

The cloud increases collaboration

Because is directly integrated into Adobe Premiere Pro, the editors were able to easily share Review links of the work-in-progress, and the approvers were able to leave frame-accurate notes that the editors could work with right in their timelines. This meant that the approvers could weigh in with specific suggestions without having to be in the office with the editors.

The cloud enables accessibility and inclusivity

The Sundance Institute is deeply committed to accessibility and requires open captions on all their video content. Using the Speech to Text function in Adobe Premiere Pro helped the editors quickly and accurately caption "The Daily Recap”—something that was previously a laborious process at the end of a long day. The Sundance Institute also supports using technology that is affordable and available to creators of all backgrounds and levels, which is a big part of why they chose the Adobe Creative Cloud and to create all their video content, from capture to delivery.