Racing Dreams is an award-winning documentary that follows the racing exploits of three go-kart racing youths chasing an entry into the world of NASCAR. As we reported before, when Racing Dreams took the podium at the Tribeca Film Festival, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson got behind this project as executive producer, and now this documentary is making its broadcast premiere on Thursday, February 23 at 9 PM on Public Television. The PBS documentary series POV (Point Of View) will also stream the movie on its website for a month following the debut.

The idea of a karting documentary may not sound immediately captivating to anyone but the most hardcore of racing fans, but the story of Annabeth Barnes, Josh Hobson and Brandon Warren (11, 12, and 13 years old, respectively), has a track record of surprising viewers. It's more than just the story of how entry into professional auto racing of any sort increasingly starts even before adolescence, it talks about how the experience of fierce on-track competition colors the already-bewildering arrival of adolescence. Indeed, racing isn't the kind of subject matter you'd expect to find on PBS, but director and producer Marshall Curry has woven a story that's been rewarded with honors at many film festivals around the United States. Racing Dreams is a story about life that happens to have racing figure into the plot. Check your local listings to catch the documentary on your PBS station, and after checking out our gallery, you can watch the trailer and read the official press release, both posted after the jump.

RACING DREAMS TRAILER 166m from N/A on Vimeo.

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Award-winning "Racing Dreams" Follows Three Tweens with Supercharged NASCAR Ambitions; Special POV Broadcast Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 on PBS

Amid the Roar of 70-M.P.H. Go-Karts, Oscar®-nominated Director Marshall Curry Chronicles Yung Love and Family Struggles as Kids Compete in the "Little League" of Professional Racing

"Absorbing...Racing Dreams is the unusual sports movie that is more interested in the lives of of the rare documentaries you leave wishing it was a little bit longer."
--Stephen Holden, The New York Times

Award-winning fimmaker Marshall Curry (Oscar®-nominated Street Fight, 2005; Sundance winner If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, 2011) returns to POV in 2012 with Racing Dreams, a chronicle of two boys and a girl who do something extraordinary: They fearlessly race extreme go-karts at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour in pursuit of trophies and, just maybe, careers as NASCAR drivers. And as the youngsters compete on the track, they also navigate the treacherous road from childhood to young adulthood.

Racing Dreams, winner of the Best Documentary Feature Award at the Tribeca Film Festival and executive-produced by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, has its national broadcast premiere on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012, at 9 p.m., as a special broadcast on PBS's POV (Point of View) series. (Check local listings.) The film will also stream in its entirety on POV's website Feb. 24 - March 24. American television's longest-running independent documentary series, POV has won a Special Emmy for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking, two International Documentary Association IDA Awards for Best Continuing Series and NALIP's Corporate Commitment to Diversity Award.

Fondly described as "talladega Nights meets Catcher in the Rye," Racing Dreams is a dramatic, funny and sometimes heartbreaking look at the world of NASCAR culture as lived by three young aspirants to race-car glory and their families. The film follows Annabeth Barnes (11 years old), Josh Hobson (12) and Brandon warren (13) as they compte in the Pavement Series, a yearlong national championship of five races around the country organized by the World Karting Association (WKA).

The WKA's races have been a breeding ground for NASCAR racers in the past -- Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick and others started out racing competitive go-karts -- and Brandon, Annabeth and Josh dream of stepping up to the "big leagues," too.

For each of these young drivers, racing is more than just a hobby. Josh, who started racing when he was 5, grew up in car-country, not far from Flint, Mich. A well-spoken, straight-A student, he studies not only racing strategy, but also the political sensitivity it takes to be the kind of spokesman NASCAR and its sponsors favor. As precocious as he is, however, he doesn't recognize the financial burden that his passion places on his family: each race can cost up to $5,000 for equipment and travel.

Annabeth also has rcing in her blood. Her Hiddenite, N.C. relatives have been racing cars "since back in the moonshine days," she explains, and the love of speed has a particular significance at her age: "When you are 11 or 12, your whole life is filled with people telling you what to do. But when you're racing you make your own decisions....You're totally independent." She takes special pleasure in beating the boys in such a male-dominated sport, but as adolescence sets in, she feels torn between her love of racing, which requires her to travel nearly every weekend, and a desire to be a regular kid.

For Brandon, racing is in many ways an escape from a difficult home life in Creedmoor, N.C. "If I'm not racing, I'm not happy," he says. His parents have wrestled with drugs, and so he lives with his nurturing grandparents in a double-wide trailer filled with racing memorabilia. Talented, funny and charismatic, Brandon also has a hot temper that sometimes gets him into trouble. He is aiming to win the championship that he lost the previous year when he was disqualified for rough driving.

As the tour unfolds, the three young racers step from the sheltered world of childhood into adolescence -- discovering romance for the first time, questioning their relationships with their parents and glimpsing the serious obstacles that will threaten their ability to achieve their dreams.

"Some people might see car racing as a surprising subject for a PBS documentary," says director-producer Cury, whose other films have dealt with inner-city politics and the environmental movement. "But NASCAR is said to be the second-biggest spectator sport in America, and it's a part of our country's culture worth exploring. The film is also a lot more universal than it might seem on the surface. It was very well-received at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, where I bet most members of the audience couldn't name a single NASCAR driver. It's really as much a story about adolescence and that amazing chapter of our lives as it is a story about going fast."

DreamWorks Studios is currently developing the documentary into a dramatic feature film produced by the team of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek, Cowboys & Aliens, Transformers).

Racing Dreams is produced by Marshall Curry Productions, GOOD and White Buffalo Entertainment.

About the Filmmaker:
Marshall Curry (Director, Producer)
Marshal Curry's Emmy- and Oscar®-nominated Street Fight, which he directed, produced, shot and edited, aired on POV in 2005. The film chronicles Cory Booker's first run for mayor of Newark, N.J. against incumbent Sharpe James, and won numerous awards, including audience awards at the Tribeca Film Festival, AFI/Discovery Silverdocs and Hot Docs. It also received the Jury Prize for Best International Documentary at Hot Docs and was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award.

in 2005, Filmmaker Magazine selected Curry as one of "25 new Faces of Independent Film," and he was awarded the IDA's Jacqueline Donnet Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award. In 2007, he received an International Trailblazer Award at MIPDOC in Cannes. His recent film If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, winner of the U.S. Documentary Editing Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, aired on POV in 2011.

Curry has been a guest lecturer at Harvard, Duke, New York University and other colleges, and he has served on juries for the IDA, Tribeca Film Festival and Hot Docs. Prior to working as a filmmaker, he taught English in Guanajuato, Mexico, worked in public radio and taught government in washingcont, D.C. He is a graduat of Swarthmore Colleg and was a Jane Addams Fellow at The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, where he wrote about the history, philosophy and economics of nonprofits. Curry lives with his wife and children in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Director/Producer: Marshall Curry
Producer: Bristol Baughan
Executive Producers: Jack Turner, Ben Goldhirsh, Dwayne Johnson, Danny Garcia
Cinematographers: Marshall Curry, Peter Gordon, Wolfgang Held, Alan Jacobsen
Editors: Marshall Curry, Matthew Hamachek, Mary Manhardt
Original Music: Joel Goodman, The National
Running Time: 86:46

POV Series Credits:
Executive Producer: Simon Kilmurry
Co-Executive Producer: Cynthia López
VP, Production & Programming: Chris White
Series Producer: Yance Ford

Awards and Festivals:
  • Winner, Best Documentary Feature, Tribeca Film Festival
  • Winner, Best Documentary Feature, Nashville Film Festival
  • Winner, Best Documentary Feature, Jacksonfille Film Festival
  • Winner, Silver Hugo Award, Chicago International Film Festival
  • Winner, Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature, Florida Film Festival
  • Winner, Audience Award, Best Feature, Indianapolis International Film Festival

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Saw this on Netflix online a few months ago. Whether you like Nascar, WRC, Super GT or F1, this definetely appeals to the hardcore racing and car enthusiasts. It was incredible to see how sponsorship plays a big factor to drivers at such a young age, who even if they have the talent, without the money, they will not have a future in racing. Many great racing drivers came from families with money, like Senna and Montoya, or with parents that worked many jobs for their child's passion, like Schumacher's parents. This is about the families that they dont have either and the kids who choose to pursue a dream, even if it seems impossible. An excellent documentary that deserves to be watched by those who love racing of any form.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Support your local PBS stations, bitches!
      • 3 Years Ago
      I just looked it up....It's on Netflix if you can't catch it on PBS.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Awe, that's so cute. They're like... 'Mini Stigs'. :)
      • 3 Years Ago
      All I have to say is that's one scary determined looking kid in the poster... o_O
      The Law
      • 3 Years Ago
      Austin GP is already selling tickets gonna be EPIC! Formula 1 is coming back to AMERICA!
      Karl T
      • 3 Years Ago
      NASCAR? HA! Pass.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Karl T
        Seriously? Did you only read the "NASCAR" and not watch the trailer? Just as ignorant as MotionDesigner.
          Karl T
          • 3 Years Ago
          No, 'ignorant' means lacks of knowledge or information; I took my information on the subject at hand from Dan Roth's description: "Racing Dreams is an award-winning documentary that follows the racing exploits of three go-kart racing youths chasing an entry into the world of NASCAR. ...." If the film isn't solely about NASCAR, Dan should issue a correction write a more accurate piece. Yes, I lost all interest at the words '... the world of NASCAR..' and consequently have no need or desire to watch the trailer.
      • 3 Years Ago
      NA$CAR?!? (facepalm)
      • 3 Years Ago
      I for one detest NASCAR but can't turn away a good racing-related documentary I watched a Petty doc not long ago on Speed and loved it As much as NASCAR is a terrible image for racing (in my personal opinion) one cannot deny competitive nature as it is shared by ALL racers, no matter the medium they use for competition
        • 3 Years Ago
        Why do you detest NASCAR and why do you think it's a terrible image for racing? Is it pretty much the same thing that every NASCAR hater says about the sport? About how the cars aren't "stock"? Or that it's fanbase is supposedly ALL rednecks and "hillbillies"?
        • 3 Years Ago
        See, now THAT'S what I want to hear. I'm a NASCAR fan and I can respect that because it's not the same thing said about NASCAR by ignorant NASCAR haters. You're not a hater, you're just someone who doesn't like it for the right reasons. There needs to be more of you on this site.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why would you want to go from karting to NASCAR?
      Get Squirly
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've seen it, great film about the struggles of racing. It is an expensive sport and things in life have to be cut out in order to pursue a career in it, which is pretty difficult for a 12 year old. It is a great film, I wish they will do a follow-up as to where the kids go and end up doing.
      Krishan Mistry
      • 3 Years Ago
      My problem with NASCAR? Oval=boring until someone crashes. There are a couple road courses NASCAR runs on, and that seems so much more exciting. Going 200mph is fun to watch, but going 200mph almost constantly, only turning one way, with so much banking you barely need to slow? Not interesting to watch after a couple laps. You could put Indy cars, WRC, F1, DTM, whatever machinery you want, but turning left on high banking for hours at near constant speed is a little mind numbing. As for the 'redneck' culture? I'll bear it. The cars being identical tube framed racers with different stickers on them? Please, it's a racecar, the 'stock' bit is a misnomer, who cares. The cars are antiquated with live axles, carbs, 4 speeds, and pushrods? Hell, they sound amazing and are well up to task. And it's even more amazing they get so much high rpm power (and over 130hp/L) out of "60's" technology.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Krishan Mistry
        1. If you've recently watched since last year the races on Daytona and Talladega, there's nothing boring about that. I'm ALWAYS on the edge of my seat because I always have that feeling that something is going to go wrong when they're doing the 2 car drafting, especially when the one pushing doesn't know how to bump draft. But I guess my excitement comes from actually being in the passenger seat of one of these cars doing 170mph around Daytona on my 18th birthday and realizing what these guys go through every weekend. 2. The cars this year will start showing how they're going to start differentiating themselves from each other. The 2013 Fusion NASCAR car has been teased by Ford Racing for the past 2 weeks, and they just teased the front today. The front seems to be carrying a lot of design elements from the production model, including the wide mouth grille. 3. They're not running carbs anymore. They just started running fuel injection this year. No real change in engine design, just that they were equipped with EFI with a throttle body in place of the carb.
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