Scott Keneally is the writer/director behind RISE OF THE SUFFERFESTS, the first feature documentary about the global obstacle course racing phenomenon. The film explores the history of the sport, psychology behind it, personalities that drive it, and asks WTF it says about the world we’re living in. Specifically: why the hell is everyone suddenly paying for pain?
The self-proclaimed “beta male” has been stuck in the mud since the fall of 2011, when he tackled his first Tough Mudder. Back then, the first-time filmmaker had no idea he’d be making a movie about any of this stuff. He went into it with a simple plan: to suffer and write a story about the suffering. Keneally had confessed to things like bedwetting and sweaty pits in places like the New York Times Styles section, and figured the one about training up and tackling a paramilitary assault course would make for funny material. That essay was featured on the cover of his local alt-weekly, but more importantly, while researching the history of the company, he stumbled upon a “Social Network”-style scandal surrounding its origins. He quickly reinvented himself as an investigative journalist, and his story ultimately landed on the cover of Outside. The exposé received widespread media attention, opening doors to a consulting gig with 60 Minutes Sports, a speaking engagement at Stanford Business School and—by kismet or luck—an unlikely new career path as a filmmaker.
When he’s not running in mud, Keneally works as a treatment writer for some of the top directors in music videos and commercials. Over the past 15 years, he has collaborated on videos for Rihanna, Madonna, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus, as well as Paris Hilton’s infamous burger commercial. He has also been known to play didgeridoo with the criminally under-discovered rock band OURS, through which he has toured with Marilyn Manson and recorded on the band’s Rick Ruben-produced record, “Mercy.”
Keneally received his B.A. from Boston College (’99) and his M.F.A. from University of San Francisco (’04). He lives on a vineyard in Sonoma County, CA, with his wife and little boy.