If you dream of becoming a professional football player you join your local team from an early age, pretending to be the stars of the league together with your mates. The same goes for swimmers, runners and even cyclists. But what if your dream is to become a professional stock car racer, where do you start then? Filmmaker Marshall Curry’s Racing Dreams follows three young racers fighting for a professional life in the fast lane.
Annabeth Barnes is eleven years old, and aside from one of the few girls in the sport, is also the youngest of the three future racers Curry (Street Fight, If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front) has chosen to follow. Together with 12-year-old Josh Hobson and 13-year-old Brandon Warren she dreams of becoming the next world champion, something not yet achieved by a woman before.
Josh, who is one year older than Annabeth, seems to be good at doing his own marketing, talking his way through negotiations like he has done it his entire life. He is merely a teenager but comes across as much more mature, slick even in some ways. Perhaps maturity it is a trade needed in order to be allowed to race with 80mph down the track.
The most talented driver of the three youngsters is definitely Brandon. However, talented does not have to mean successful. Brandon has had a troubled youth and this has clearly left its marks on him, which also shows on the track. He would have won the title he so desperately wants but instead got disqualified for rough driving. Now though, he has come into the care of his loving grandparents and with his hero grandfather by his side he might just be able to tame the inner beast and use his strength for racing.
Here are three dedicated youngsters; they are young and they have a dream. The sport has not taken over just their lives, but also that of their families. The costs itself means racing is not for everyone but the time that needs to be invested is even more mind-blowing in its proportion.
Curry doesn’t just follow the young champions on racing days, when they compete in the WKA National Series, but also in the weeks leading up to the events. His balance is spot on as he lets the audience flow from races to life back at home while keeping the tension and the suspense that you can feel throughout the film in the same gear. The brilliant music to the documentary is provided by The National.
With this youth’s passion and general teenage emotions in overflow it is easy to see why Racing Dreams won the awards it did; you do not need to know about racing or love cars to see the future victories in these kids’ eyes. Thanks to Spirit Level Film audiences in the UK, who for some reason got bypassed on a theatrical release, now get a chance to see this inspirational feature which is out on DVD from 17 September.