EXCLUSIVE: STXfilms has taken worldwide rights to Empty Quarter Studios’ feature-length documentary Into the Lost Desert which follow extreme desert explorer Max Calderan as he pursues his lifelong dream to cross the Rub’ al Khali, the last uncharted desert on earth. Into the Lost Desert is executive produced by Billy Sprague and directed by Christopher Cassel.
Calderan, 50, has survived some of the most extreme and difficult terrain on Earth, pushing his body to its limits to endure the most inhospitable environments anywhere. Until now, only one expedition has been beyond his grasp: the Rub’ al Khali, the massive desert in the Arabian peninsula; its 700-mile west-to-east span has never been crossed in recorded history. Calderan braves extreme heat (averaging 117 degrees Fahrenheit), shifting sand dunes towering up to 1000 feet, poisonous snakes, spiders, scorpions, and any number of life-threatening challenges in the non-fiction feature.
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The difficult trek required many key players to support Calderan, including Ian Huggins, the expedition support team leader; Michael Galvin, Will Kelly, and Adam Koster as Max’s support team; and Wayne Conner and Angus Duthie on security. The crew included Michael Haertlein as DP, Marcelino Belizario on aerial cinematography, Adriano Bravo as sound recordist, and Benjamin Frank as assistant camera.
“Into the Lost Desert is about staring down your greatest challenges, no matter how enormous the obstacles, and pursuing your greatest dreams and ambitions, no matter how big or humble,” said STXfilms Motion Picture Group Chairman Adam Fogelson. “With Kid90, STX recently had good success in the doc space and are privileged to share this new documentary about Max Calderan and his epic trek with audiences. Perhaps Max will do for extreme desert exploring what Alex Honnold did for rock climbing in Free Solo.”
Says Sprague: “This is an incredible and inspiring story about a man pursuing his lifelong dream. It’s a story about perseverance and passion. And it’s a story about one of the least traveled, most inhospitable places on earth.”
Adds the EP, “I met Max Calderan in 2016 and was immediately taken by his charisma, passion, and mission to accomplish his lifelong dream. I wanted to tell Max’s story and document his last, greatest challenge – to cross the largest sand desert in the world. I’m very proud of our film crew, who captured this daring adventure and amazing story in one of the world’s most remote, harsh, and deadly deserts.”