Airdrie residents produce motorsports documentary
Two local filmmakers are hoping their new documentary will capture the memory of motorcycle racing in the region – and maybe give it a new life.
Airdronians Covy Moore and Chris Phillips recently completed work on Life at 45°, a 27-minute picture detailing the final weekend of motorcycle racing at the now-closed Race City Speedway in Calgary.
Filmed during three days of racing Sept. 15 to 17, 2011, Life at 45° features a number of interviews with the riders, a narrative track from rider Ali Cohen, as well as footage from a number of angles including on-board the motorcycles.
The feature had its premiere on March 8 at the Globe Theatre in Calgary where about 250 people attended.
“It seemed really well received,” said Moore, who directed the project.
“It’s the first time we’ve done anything like this and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Most of the people were people I’ve met in the last couple of years at the track and it was cool to see those faces again. They all seemed really excited to watch it.”
“I’m happy with the final product,” said Phillips, who spent nearly 150 hours paring down the raw footage into 27 minutes. “I’m happy with what it’s accomplished so far, just spreading the word and giving something back – something to this community of racers. This is something solid for them to have and just share with people and say ‘this is what we used to do.’”
Moore, who has been interested in all things motorsport-related since 2003, when he started attending oval stock car races at Race City, came up with the idea for Life at 45° when he attended the penultimate weekend of racing action.
“Motorsports is my passion and just knowing that would be gone led to a really heavy realization that we are right near the end of this track and I’m not going to have anywhere to go either,” he said.
Moore contacted Tim Johnson, the president of the Calgary Motorcycle Road Racing Association (CMRA), to ask about the idea and access during the final weekend of racing. The response was an overwhelming yes, so he quickly assembled the crew of Phillips, Murray Phillips, David Jensen and Rebecca McKay.
“They were happy with our interest in doing something like that and had their total support,” Moore said of the CMRA. “And I can’t thank them (production crew) enough. If it was just Chris and me out there, it wouldn’t be a 27-minute feature, it would be an eight-minute highlight video.”
The production, which had about 50 hours of raw footage, used two digital SLR’s to film the interview segments, an older-model digital video camera for background footage, a high-speed camera to capture the racing in slow-motion, and two GoPro cameras of their own, as well as several of the riders’ own, for the racing action.
Moore and Phillips both said their primary ambition was to show both the history and emotion these riders put in, as well as the potential of providing awareness for the future of racing in the area.
“These guys go out and spend all this money and ride on the track and all they have to remember it by are bills and cool memories,” Moore said. “This was a good way to put those memories into a hard copy. Giving them something to remember it by was really important to us.
“During the time of the filming, we spoke to two people on the MARCS (Calgary’s Motorsports, Arts, Racing, Culture and Sport) committee, and their primary goal is to get another Race City-like facility into Calgary or the area. Maybe even out the Airdrie way, near the airport. Motorsports, while you don’t see them everywhere and they’re not the most popular thing in this part of the country – we do need them.”
A three-minute clip from Life at 45° can be viewed on YouTube, while there is also a full DVD release in the works.
There will 100 copies on the original run, available for pre-order at www.roadracing.org, with all funds going to the CMRA and its efforts to bring racing back to the region.