Aim For The Roses (or Should I Leap the Strait of Juan de Fuca to See this Documentary?)

unnamedOpens in Vancouver, BC 
Starting December 2, 2016
Vancity Theatre
1181 Seymour St

In 1976, Canadian daredevil Ken Carter announced his intention to fly a rocket-car a mile from the banks of the St. Lawrence to U.S. territory on the other side. His vision was to land cushily on a field of roses. The great Evel Knievel called it, “the daredevil stunt to end all daredevil stunts.” Time has largely erased the ill-advised stunt from modern memory. But in 2008, eccentric Vancouver musician Mark Haney commenced an epic (and some thought equally insane) Carter-commemorative concept album for double bass, with stream-of-conscious monologues and songs, all set to a melody based on the irrational number Pi.

The two quixotic obsessions – 30 years apart – converge in John Bolton’s audacious Aim For The Roses, an artistically infused documentary that tells both improbable stories in lyrical and connected fashion. Carter’s saga is told in copious archival interviews, footage and contemporary expert witnesses. It is also filtered through the prism of Haney’s creativity (along with Haney’s own story of his dissatisfaction with the “normal” life of a bassist and his burning need for a redemptive creative challenge).

Filmmaker Bolton fuses these two epic fool’s errands with the help of a Who’s Who of the Vancouver music and theatre community, who bring Haney’s record to life in musical numbers shot on the main drag strip of a raceway and on and around replicas of Carter’s ramp and car. Characters include the Statistician, Evel Knievel, the Fuel Tank Team, the Ramp Engineer, the Assistant Manager of Westgate Speedway and the Chorus Members.

“The best metaphor I’ve got is, ‘Errol Morris and Philip Glass meets Super Dave Osborne,’” Bolton says. “As different as they were, I certainly think an element of mad genius was at work with Mark Haney and Ken Carter. And it can be contagious.”

“Not very often does a documentary like Aim For The Roses come around,” says Robin Smith of Blue Ice Docs, “and when it does, it’s a no-brainer for us to want to pick it up. A film about a crazy daredevil, a crazy talented musician, and an award-winning filmmaker who was crazy enough to bring this to light – Canadian audiences will get a real kick out it.”

Author: Ed Sum

I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology to popular culture to paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: