David Brodie during the restoration work on the Mark 1 Escort
I BUMPED into St Barts Old Boys, independent filmmakers Martyn and Barrie Chalk, at Friday night’s opening at Peggy Brodie’s Whitchurch-on-Thames gallery.
The brothers are making a
documentary about her husband, the racing driver David Brodie.
Run Baby Run is about The Brode and his legendary 1968 Mk 1 Ford Escort of the film’s title which is said to have won more than 200 races between 1969 and 1972, when the driver and his car were stars of the racetrack. But after the 1972 season, the car was laid up in a barn, where it stayed for 40 years.
Then, last year, while being treated for leukemia, David rediscovered Run Baby Run minus its engine and decided to bring it back to life,
mirroring his own challenge at that time, restoring the body and re-engineering it.
The now Oxford-based Chalk brothers have set out to tell the story with their team of creatives, including David’s stepson, sound designer Justin Gibson; cameraman James Quale and researchers Simon Porritt, Steve Hay and Giorgio Podaras and have opted to pitch for crowdfunding to finance the project.
Are they great motorsport fans? “Barrie is a huge fan,” says Martyn. “He’s been following Williams since the 80s, while I’m and old school Ford fan. I own a 90s Capri, which we used in a music video this year.
“David spoke to me about the restoration, so we started filming it, but the real story only started to emerge as I got to know him better. He’s also got healthier and healthier, just as the car has got healthier.
“I had no idea just how many people Brodie’s life has touched.”
Barrie is both a classic car enthusiast and a motorsport fan. He attended his first races in the 70s accompanying his old friend Phillip Hams to banger races, and often spent Saturday afternoon watching motor racing on ITV’s World of Sport with his father Stewart.
In the late 1970s Stewart worked at the School of Military Survey alongside a woman whose husband worked at the then fledgling Williams Grand Prix Engineering. Barrie has followed them ever since, seeing Nigel Mansell winning both his first race and his first British Grand Prix, so, he says: “It was a particular privilege to meet Sir Frank Williams during the filmmaking.”
And the rest of the team? “We’ve all been working together for the last few years, so it’s a really tight team, all working to the same goal.
“Based in Oxford, we seem to have fallen into both the music world and motorracing. We’ve done a fair bit of work for the motorsport industry. George, who started working as a sound trainee, has turned out to be a dab hand at research… the things he now knows about Brodie!”
How far along is the project? “Another three months should have all the interviews and footage of the car in the can.”
Who else is on board? They’ve already interviewed Williams F1 boss Frank Williams and co-founder and engineering director Patrick Head. “I’ve a huge list of contacts, which we are working through. It’s such a big list that it’s become almost full-time going through it.
“I don’t want to say all the other names until they have confirmed, but there are a lot of well-known names, motor racers, actors, musicians and businessmen.
How much will the project cost? “We need £30,000 to complete all the filming. Once we have all that the rest of the budget will become clear. We’ll edit in house, so that reduces the costs a little, then there is archive footage and music rights clearance.”
So why have they gone for crowdfunding to finance the project? “David is so popular that we feel he has the fan base to fund it.
“It allows us to make the film we want to make, which is a human interest story – the everyman racer who has beaten leukemia, as his car has come to life. Both have taken huge will power and determination.
“It’s a story that needs to be made and not to a generic formula.
“It’s a privilege to tell his story.”
If the Living Art Hungerford gallery were a band, curator Justin Cook would have cited “artistic differences” as the reason for his departure. He has now cut loose from the family firm to do his own thing at ‘Oil’, just a few doors down the road. TRISH LEE spoke to him about his new gallery, which recently launched with an exhibition in its ‘Boiler Room’