Written by: Steve Holmgren, UnionDocs Programmer
Last Thursday, UnionDocs co-presented a special Thursday edition of STF, screening Marshall Curry’s RACING DREAMS. I had the pleasure of moderating the discussion with Curry (pictured left – thanks for the Blackberry photo, Cathryne!), and participating in the conversation that followed at a nearby bar. Winner of the best documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival, RACING DREAMS chronicles three pre-teens competing in the World Karting Association who aspire to become the next generation of NASCAR racers. Culling hundreds of hours of footage, Curry has crafted an impressive feel-good movie that gives insight into the little known world of teen racing, and ultimately becomes a portrait of American kids facing the immense pressure of pre-professional sports alongside daily challenges of growing up.
After the screening, filmmaker Paul Devlin, myself, and other STF regulars got a chance to chat with Curry at length about the pending theatrical release of RACING DREAMS courtesy of Hanover House. Curry has become a hot property in the doc world after his low-budget first feature, STREET FIGHT, on the 2002 Newark mayoral campaign, garnered much critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination. RACING DREAMS certainly has the ingredients for box office success, and plays as exciting narrative drama, surpassing the standard documentary -as-information routine. They are wisely rolling out in Southern, racing-centric states, before hitting New York City and Los Angeles. With the right marketing push and outreach, this movie should break out as widely or wider than many narrative features on the same playing field. Curry summed up his success in crafting this as a moving story first and foremost by quoting a reaction from one of his subjects after seeing the film, “I thought you said it was going to be a documentary?” Time will tell how the market reacts, but we’re wishing the film all the best.