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FYI WIRZ Fast Take   By Dwight Drum
Web work by Larsen & Drum    Images by Drum and Racing Dreams
 
FYI WIRZ: 'Racing Dreams' Film Is Kid Speed and Adult Hope

When Mario Andretti was asked if he could detect racing talent in children he commented on his observation of kids racing go-karts, “Not all kids are created equal.”

Racing Dreams is documentary film about three adolescents who race go-karts in the World Karting Association's National Series chosen by director Marshall Curry for not being equal, for standing out. Curry explained part of this process.

“What I really wanted to do was a character story about three kids who happen to race cars at 70 and 80 miles an hour,” Curry said.

Curry chose Annabeth Barnes, 11; Josh Hobson, 12; and Brandon Warren, 13.

“I went out and met maybe 50, 75 kids and I would ask them questions most of which didn’t have anything to do with racing at all,” Curry added. “What does your room look like? What kind of books do you like to read? Do you believe in God? Any kind of questions just to get a sense of how their minds work and what sort of people they were and those three really popped out.”

Curry and film crew followed the chosen three to five races plus spent hour after hour in each home.

“For Annabeth, the fact that she was a girl racing in what is generally a guy’s sport was interesting to me,” Curry said. “With Josh, he’s such a professional. He’s a grown-up in a child’s body. Even at 12-years old, he knew about mentioning his sponsors.

"With Brandon, he just kind of had that twinkle in his eye. His grandfather said this kid has had more scars, more stitches before he was in even five-years old than I ever had in my life.”

The interesting adolescents provided a story that prompted hours of hard work.

We shot it over a year,” Curry said. “We shot about 500 hours of footage. That took up three months of 40 hour weeks just to watch the footage one time. We took that footage and boiled it down to a 90 minute movie. When I showed Annabeth’s mom the movie for the first time she said, ‘This isn’t like a documentary at all, this is like a movie.’ The highest praise you can give a documentary film maker is that their movie isn’t like a documentary at all.”

Part of the reason that this film is so effective was Curry’s search for the right subjects.

“All three of those kids as soon as you talk to them you can see instantly that they are charming, and they’re funny, and they’re smart,” Curry said.

The dream portion of the film title points to reaching a supreme goal shared by many young competitors, racing in NASCAR.

“The movie is about racing but the movie is just as much about adolescence,” Curry added. “Most people think of go-karts as something you fool around with in the back yard. These are 70 to 80 mph racing machines. To see 11 and 12 year-olds do it, is pretty remarkable.

Joey Logano, a kid whose racing path grew into NASCAR, was fortunate to hook up with Mark Martin who like Andretti knows talent and saw something in Logano. As a boy Logano yearned to be a NASCAR driver and as a teenager he got the opportunity from Joe Gibbs Racing to develop in other sanctions while he aged to 18 so he could be permitted to race in NASCAR’s upper levels.

“I think as a person I don't think I've changed much at all, “Logano said. “I'm still the same Joey that's been growing up my whole life. So nothing's changed there."

“But as a driver, I'm night and day different. We've got a long ways to go to get to where I need to be, but definitely making big strides every day when we get on the racetrack. So that's a good thing. Gotta keep working hard and try to get better.”

Sometimes dreams come true.

Maybe some of the Marshall Curry’s dreams have come true also. The documentary film will become a movie.

“DreamWorks has recently optioned it do a fictional remake,” Curry said. “They are going to be doing a fictional version. The guy who did Men in Black movie is writing the script. It’s kind of nice to hear that they were excited about it. It was fun to see audiences and to have these guys from DreamWorks watch our documentary and say, this is not a lesson. This is dramatic, funny and sad movie.”

If you are a family with children, don’t miss viewing this film especially if your kids race go-karts, play Little League baseball, line up for Pop Warner football or dream. If you don’t have children, view this film to relive your adolescence again in a new way through these three special kids and their families.

Check Racing Dreams here: Racingdreamsfilm.com

The film is scheduled to open In California this weekend.

DVD sales availability date: 9/22/2010


 

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