Virgil Abloh-produced Sha’Carri Richardson documentary to premiere at Sundance Film Festival

The 24-minute short follows Richardson's Olympic trial quest

The late visionary Virgil Abloh apparently had plans before his passing to progress as a filmmaker, co-founding a film studio that will soon premiere its first documentary following star sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson’s life and rise to stardom.

The short film, titled Sub Eleven Seconds, features executive production from Abloh, aged 41, with direction from U.K. artist Bafic and production from multidisciplinary creators Chloe Sultan and her husband, Mahfuz Sultan.

According to PAPER Magazine, the 24-minute glimpse into Richardson’s Olympic qualifying journey is scheduled to debut this week during the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, which holds its 38th annual event virtually through Jan. 30.

Filmed during two days of the USA Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon in June 2021, the doc is billed as a “poetic imagining” of 21-year-old Richardson’s quest to achieve her dreams of competing on sports’ biggest stage, as well as a personal meditation on themes of her life including “time, loss, and hope.”

“Time is my blessing and my curse,” Richardson says in a recently-released trailer for the forthcoming documentary. “On the track, I’ve been blessed to run fast.”

“Off the track, time has cheated me,” she continues. “You don’t know when something or someone will be taken from you.”

Many had Richardson as their Olympic gold medal favorite after she won the 100-meter race at the U.S. Olympic trials in June 2021 with a scorching time of 10.86 seconds. 

However, shortly after her trials win, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced Richardson tested positive for cannabis, nullifying her trials time and landing her a 30-day suspension which caused her to miss the Olympics.

Sha’Carri Richardson reacts after competing in the first round of the Women’s 100 Meter during day one of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 18, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Richardson later revealed that she smoked marijuana to deal with the loss of her biological mother shortly before the trials.

“This film we made is a meditation on time, a portrait of Sha’carri @carririchardson_ at a specific time in her life,” wrote Bafic in a caption alongside the trailer. “A meditation on a person who spends a lot of time trying to make the shortest amount of time.”

Mahfuz, who helped found ARCHITECTURE FILMS with Chloe and Abloh, reflected on a promise made between the trio to create films together, and contemplated the “bittersweet” feeling of debuting their first official work.

“Over a year ago, Virgil, Chloe, and I promised each other we’d start making films, that we’d found a film studio,” Mahfuz wrote. “We miss dreaming with you V, we are so infinitely infinitely infinitely grateful to you.”

Abloh died in November 2021 after battling a rare, aggressive form of sarcoma cancer for two years. A globally celebrated fashion designer and founder of the popular street wear label Off White, Abloh in 2018 was named men’s artistic director for Louis Vuitton – the first African American to helm a line at the company.

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