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Last night I was startled to see - after watching two of Harry Aleo's horses, the filly WILD PROMISES and the mare VICTORINA - win stakes races at Golden Gate Fields and Emerald Downs, respectively - the filmmaker John Corey on our late sports newscast talking about the new movie he has made about LOST IN THE FOG!!
(Interviewer to Director) In closing, we ask you to convince the average movie-watcher to choose your film instead of the trillion other options they have. How do you do it?
(Director) JOHN: Go see Lost in the Fog because it's easy on the eyes, has compelling and touching characters, will make you laugh and then break your heart.
John Corey's Lost in the Fog will have its world premiere at the 2008 CineVegas Film Festival on Saturday, Jun 14 at 12:00 pm and screen again on Monday, June 16 at 4:00 PM, both at the Palms’ Brenden Theatres. Visit the official website.
The website has a preview of the movie.
Shelley in CA
Director John Corey's LOST IN THE FOG will have its World Premiere in the Pioneer Documentary section of CineVegas. In the film a cantankerous owner and his blue collar colt earn the right to take on horse racing's finest but the equine gods intervene at the last minute to turn this would-be fairy tale upside down.
Tell us a bit about your background and how this project came to be developed? What was it about THIS story that you said 'I need to make this.'
Anyway, about three years ago I was thumbing through the San Francisco Chronicle and came across an article in the sports page about a very promising young horse that was training over at Golden Gate Fields in the east bay. This horse was one of the early favorites for the Kentucky Derby, which was very unusual because the bay area just doesn't get that many good horses. Most derby caliber horses come from Kentucky, New York, Florida, or Southern California. The article detailed the horse's precocious speed, the salty trainer, and the crusty old owner who was infamous in his neighborhood for hanging conservative paraphernalia in his storefront windows. It was my guy. I walked down the street that day and introduced myself, ostensibly to do a piece on him for my t.v. show, and we hit it off right away. We both grew up in the neighborhood, albeit 50 years apart, and he just took a liking to me. He set me up with his trainer and once I saw the horse colony over at Golden Gate Fields, I knew I had something. A month later I was in New York shooting a big stakes race at Aqueduct and two months after that I quit my job and started following the story full time.
My initial impression of Harry was probably much like other people in the neighborhood - "the nerve of this guy, who does he think he is?" After about the hundredth time I passed his office, however, I asked myself why I was so worked up about this guy's windows. It's his office, he can do whatever he wants. From that point on I noticed that most of his signs had some funny disclaimer, some little smiley face or something that took the edge off the message. I still had never worked up the nerve to go in and talk to him, though. When I finally did go in to meet him, I really wasn't that nervous. I had dealt with a lot of different types of people while working at CBS so I was prepared for anything. As it turned out, despite the facade, Harry is a terribly warm, funny, and generous person. He's changed my life and has become a close friend, a father figure.
Tell us about your impression of Harry Aleo, Lost in the Fog’s owner....
What did you learn about the world of horse racing by making this film?
I learned quite a bit.I learned that it is an incredibly difficult business. The horses are very unpredictable and very fragile and whether they cost one million or one thousand dollars, it's very much hit and miss whether they will develop into successful runners.
It's like taking a teenager and trying to turn him or her into a professional athlete. I also discovered that Harry and Greg Gilchrist, Lost in the Fog's trainer, truly love horses. It's more than a game for them, it's a vocation. For example, Greg is at the track every day before 5AM. That includes weekends and I know because I shot in the morning a couple of times. I've never been around people who work so hard.
director John Corey
Are you more insightful on gambling on horse racing now?Not in the least. I can't pick horses to save my life. Basically, I bet Harry's horses and leave the rest alone.
Some people (a lot of filmmakers I suspect) would consider the turn of events in LOST IN THE FOG to be fortuitous, at least from a dramatic standpoint. I was conflicted, however, due to my sentimental attachment to the characters. Ultimately, I feel very fortunate for a lot of reasons.
Did the story change during production?
I happened to be lucky enough to be shooting when some incredibly dramatic events unfolded and I was also blessed with some some funny and candid subjects who granted me unlimited access.
I don't have any major agenda. This isn't a movie about global warming or revolution in Africa. It's a simple story that I hope takes people away from their daily lives for 80 minutes.
What impact do you hope your film has?
My biggest hope is that the audience is engaged with the characters and is swept up in their excitement and sorrow. I want an audience to feel like they have a stake in the horse. My greatest fear is that people will dismiss the film as "just a horse movie"- that it lacks any larger themes.
Since this is the first time you've watched the film with an audience, what is your biggest hope and your biggest fear?
Always black and always even.
Red or black? Even or odds?
I think it's great. First, it's a fun town and therefore easy to convince friends and family to make the trip. Also, I can't think of a more appropriate venue for a film centered on horse racing.
How do you feel about showing the film in the city of Las Vegas?
In my case, absolutely. I'm not really much of a gambler. I'll play some craps and bet on the horses when at the track but I don't get a big charge out of it like some folks do. But this film is the biggest bet I've ever made by far. I quit a perfectly good job. I put up all my own money. I'm on the line financially and professionally and, frankly, I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm already ahead of the game - I have a couple of new lifelong friends that I wouldn't have met otherwise and I stumbled onto the story of a lifetime. I couldn't ask for anything more.
Do you see a connection between gambling and filmmaking?
LOST IN THE FOG showtimes:
Saturday, June 14, 12:00pm
Monday, June 16, 4:00pm
More interview, and comments about EIGHT BELLES and BARBARO...
Wow, I want to see it! Lost in the Fog was a true champion, lost too soon.
Wow! I bought the LITF video from the GGF Memorial for him. I'd love to see a movie about him - but it will be such a heart-breaker. I felt Lost in the Fog's death almost as badly as Barbaro's. His connections, Harry Aleo and Greg Gilchrist are such a class act.
I wonder what ever happened to the Disney movie about Secretariat? When I visited Claiborne last year they mentioned that the film crews had been shooting at their farm and Keeneland.
This sounds like an incredible film! I definitely will see it when it plays Indianapolis!
Thanks so much for posting this interview.
Sally in Indy
thanks for the news. can't wait to see it. I loved that horse. Greg Gilchrist and and Harry Aleo are just the greatest, aren't they?
A truly, truly great horse. More than pleased that this film maker was put in the right time and place to capture this truly magnificent story. Even though we all know the ending and share the saddness, it is a miracle from God that this man, the connections and this amazing horse came together....never forgotten, our Foggy.
How does the story go....
"It's not the destination; it's the journey!"
Thanks for the memories Foggy...now, everyone...go light some candles for him and all the horses we have lost or will lose to slaughter, tragedy, irresponsibility and greed. Keep the flames of their spirit and heart going; for Barbaro, LITF, GW, and the greats, known and unknown that gave us their all.
So glad to see this. Lost in the Fog was one of my favorite horses. I miss him as much as Barbaro. Can't wait to see the movie.
Thanks for letting us know about this.
My name is John Corey. I had the good fortune of making the documentary on Lost in the Fog. I used to work for CBS in San Francisco but quit after meeting Harry Aleo and Greg Gilchrist. I followed the story for about three years and was thrilled to be a part of the Fog team, albeit as someone documenting the story. I showed the film for the first time last night in San Francisco. Greg was there, as was Russell Baze, and many others from the Bay Area racing establishment. A great but bittersweet night because Harry was too sick to make it. He was the main impetus for screening the film but he's fighting cancer himself right now and, unfortunately, may not be long for this earth. He would be thrilled, however, to hear that so many people are keeping Lost in the Fog's memory alive. I'm off to Las Vegas to premiere the movie at CineVegas on Saturday 6/14 and it will also screen on Monday 6/16 at the Brenden Theatres at The Palms. I hope to get it in theatres around the country and would certainly welcome any advice/guidance about opportunities around the country. Failing that, the DVD should be available via the website www.lostinthefogthemovie.com sometime in the fall. Best to all and thanks for keeping the spirit of Lost in the Fog alive.
LOST IN THE FOG