Against a harsh winter and an even harsher economic climate, working class America is revealed in a snowmobile competition in the north woods of Michigan.
In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, an annual snowmobile race draws thousands to observe family members and friends participate in a dramatic competition. This becomes the backdrop for an observational documentary about three of the families in the community. Filmed over two years, Nick Bentgen and Lisa Kjerulff’s portrait reveals not only the spectacle of the race, but the quiet lives of some of those involved as they struggle with the fallout of the economic crisis to provide for their families and survive in difficult times.
The filmmakers have just under a week to reach $20,000 in their Kickstarter campaign for post-production financing, so consider donating if you can. More information about the pair may be found at their website.
I saw a very early cut of Bentgen and Kjerulff’s project some time ago that greatly impressed with its strong DP work and subdued but intriguing verité storytelling. At its heart, the film is about the interconnected families and their community, “ordinary” people whose stories reflect the experiences of so many other Americans in the past few years, but who don’t usually garner thoughtful and focused media coverage. Not only do the filmmakers turn their cameras on the typically unseen, but they do so over an extended period of time and with a notable aesthetic craft that at times calls to mind the Ross brothers’ 45365. This is a film that I’ve been looking forward to seeing completed for quite some time.