UNI alum captures the “Blood Road”

UNI+alumnus+Nick+Schrunk+had+a+screening+of+the+documentary+%22Blood+Road%2C%22+of+which+he+had+a+hand+in+as+creative+director+with+the+Red+Bull+Media+House.+Schrunk+graduated+in+2008+with+a+bachelor%27s+degree+in+graphic+design.
Back to Article
Back to Article

UNI alum captures the “Blood Road”

UNI alumnus Nick Schrunk had a screening of the documentary

UNI alumnus Nick Schrunk had a screening of the documentary "Blood Road," of which he had a hand in as creative director with the Red Bull Media House. Schrunk graduated in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in graphic design.

ANDREW DICKERSON

UNI alumnus Nick Schrunk had a screening of the documentary "Blood Road," of which he had a hand in as creative director with the Red Bull Media House. Schrunk graduated in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in graphic design.

ANDREW DICKERSON

ANDREW DICKERSON

UNI alumnus Nick Schrunk had a screening of the documentary "Blood Road," of which he had a hand in as creative director with the Red Bull Media House. Schrunk graduated in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in graphic design.

ALLISON MAZZARELLA, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






One thousand two hundred miles of blood, sweat and tears.  Professional athlete Rebecca Rusch experienced all of this throughout her journey along the Ho Chi Minh trail, as portrayed in the documentary film, “Blood Road,” by Red Bull Media House.  The film, which was screened in Sabin Hall on Monday, Oct. 9, was directed by UNI alumnus Nick Schrunk.

Schrunk, currently the creative director at Red Bull Media House, graduated from UNI in 2008 with his bachelor’s in graphic design.  Red Bull Media House is a production company that specializes in outdoor adventure sports.  The company produces films that focus on athletes pushing their limits. Rusch reached out personally to Red Bull Media House and requested that they document her journey.

“This one was really special to us,” Schrunk said.  “It was Rebecca’s story.  It was based in sport, but it’s really not a sport film.”

Schrunk returned to UNI for the day of the showing, providing a brief introduction to the film, as well as a question and answer discussion afterwards.  He explained that what started out as a physical journey was actually an emotional story.

Stephen Rusch, Rebecca’s father, was a pilot in the Vietnam war whose plane was shot down, crashing along the Ho Chi Minh trail.  He went missing in action when Rusch was just three years old.  Years later, her father’s death was confirmed after the discovery of some of his remains.  She set out to bike the trail in search for answers surrounding her father’s death.

“When it [filming] started, there was no actual answers,” Schrunk said.

“Once you met Rebecca, you saw how important this was to her, and how her relationship with her father, or the lack of that relationship, was such a driving force in making her such an exceptional athlete who really pushed herself,” Schrunk continued.

Apart from her support team and the Red Bull Media House film crew, Rusch was joined in the journey by her guide, Huyen Nguyen, a professional Vietnamese athlete.  Throughout the first half of the journey, Rusch was constantly pushing herself forward, taking as few breaks as possible.  However, towards the end of the film, at the finding of her father’s burial site, Rusch stopped moving.

“The thing you can’t fake is someone’s true emotion,” Schrunk said. “Her [Rusch’s] whole life had added up to this.”

The burial site was discovered when Rusch crossed paths with a man who, upon finding the crash site, buried the pilot.  Marking the burial site was a tree the man had planted.

One dynamic blend of history and present day captured in this documentary was the relationship between Rusch and her guide. Rusch’s guide, Nguyen, also had family who fought in the Vietnam war. Although their families indirectly fought each other, they were paired together to work toward a common goal. 

Josh Berendes, a 2017 UNI digital media and interactive digital studies graduate, was the driving force behind the film coming to UNI.  Reaching out to Red Bull Media House via email, Berendes was excited to get a quick response from them.  When Red Bull Media House agreed to show the film at UNI, Berendes directed the process into Chris Martin’s hands.

Martin is the interim head and professor of electronic media in the Communication Department at UNI.  Despite the last minute scheduling, Red Bull Media House agreed.

“They were pretty open, because they were putting together screenings across the country,” Martin said.

“For something we scheduled with not a lot of lead time, I think it was a good turnout.  We kind of put this together pretty quickly.”

There were about 60-70 people in attendance.

“Here’s this guy, Nick Schrunk, who walked the same halls as all of us, and now he’s the creative director for Red Bull Media House, which is one of the biggest production companies in the country,” Berendes said. “I really thought it would be cool to bring him back to UNI to show people they can do whatever they want, as long as they work hard and are passionate about what they do.  I really wanted that connection for UNI students.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email