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LOST IN THE FOG - Movie!   Horse Racing

Started by OakHillsDog; 49 views.

From: OakHillsDog


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

  • Edited 6/10/2008 4:23 am by OakHillsDog
In reply toRe: msg 1

From: OakHillsDog


May 30

Posted by Mike Plante in Film

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.'

I started in the business as an Avid editor. I worked on several films and various television and DVD projects before taking a staff position as a producer at the CBS affiliate in San Francisco. I worked on a nightly program called Evening Magazine and we were always on the hunt for stories. One guy that seemed to fit the bill was this cantankerous guy in my neighborhood who antagonized all the local liberals by placing these funny photos of Republican icons like Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon in the windows of his dusty old real estate office. Keep in mind that this is San Francisco so he was none too popular. I walked by his office every day and tried to figure out a way to do a piece on him but I needed something more than just the windows. I needed some other angle in order to do the story.


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.

Tell us about your impression of Harry Aleo, Lost in the Fog’s owner....

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.

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.

Did the story change during production?

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.

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.

What impact do you hope your film has?

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.

Since this is the first time you've watched the film with an audience, what is your biggest hope and your biggest fear?

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.

Red or black? Even or odds?

Always black and always even.

How do you feel about showing the film in the city of Las Vegas?

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.

Do you see a connection between gambling and filmmaking?

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.

LOST IN THE FOG showtimes:

Saturday, June 14, 12:00pm

Monday, June 16, 4:00pm

In reply toRe: msg 2

From: OakHillsDog


More interview, and comments about EIGHT BELLES and BARBARO...


Just as I was considering Lost in the Fog's accomplishments and wondering why there wasn't much of a comparison to some of the big names like Man-O-War and Seabiscuit, there goes Harry Aleo at the awards ceremony rattling off a list. How does this horse compare record-wise to such hall-of-fame equine?

JOHN: It's difficult to compare horses from different eras but in 2005 Lost in the Fog was certainly without peer in his division. He not only beat the competition, he demoralized them and he got to the point where other trainers wouldn't even consider running against him. There's a guy in the movie named Andy Beyer who has worked for the Washington Post and the Daily Racing Form for years but he really made his name as a handicapper. He developed a rating system called the Beyer Speed Figures and, basically, it's a system that levels the analysis between horses by taking into consideration various factors. The long and short of it is that each horse gets a speed figure for each race and you can judge horses against each other based on these figures. Most horses never score a triple digit Beyer speed figure, much less record more than one in their career. Lost in the Fog was in the hundreds in each of his first ten races. That level of consistency is very rare in racing because horses, like most athletes, have off days. The other thing of note was that he won his first ten races, an undefeated streak that put him on the heels of greats like Seattle Slew and Cigar. Ultimately, it's difficult to say where he stands among the all-time greats but he certainly stands alone in Northern California racing history.

If you could share one massive lesson that you learned while making this movie, what would it be?

JOHN: I guess there are really two lessons that resonate with me. The first is that if you have a chance to take a swing at something big, for god's sake take a cut. I don't know what's going to become of this film but I'm just glad that I took a shot. It's turned out to be a tremendous experience and I would have really regretted missing the opportunity had I not jumped in, particularly considering how the story turned out. The other lesson is one that Harry, Lost in the Fog's owner, taught me. He was offered millions for the horse but turned it down because he knew, at his ripe old age, that life experiences were more valuable than any big money offer. At the end of the day, when you're looking back on your life, you don't tally up the money in your bank account. Instead, you recount all the incredible experiences you've had and Lost in the Fog provided Harry with many priceless moments.

What films and filmmakers have acted as your inspirations, be they a lifelong love or a very specific scene composition?

JOHN: I enjoy Sidney Lumet quite a bit. I watched Network again the other night and I was amazed at how relevant it still is. Kubrick, of course, too. As for docs, Errol Morris' early films were very funny and dry and his interviewing skills are incredible. He has the rare ability to elicit candor from his subjects despite how controversial the line of questioning might be. I'll always be grateful to him personally, too, because I interviewed him for the first piece I ever did for television and he couldn't have been more gracious. Ultimately, though, I probably pulled more from traditional narratives than nonfiction. By design, Lost in the Fog has a familiar three act structure complete with dramatic payoff and coda at the end.

Did you watch any movies in pre-production and yell “This! I want something JUST like this …only different.”?

JOHN: It may sound strange but the symmetry of Pan's Labyrinth was a great inspiration. I really enjoyed how it starts cryptically and then circles back around to explain itself. As far as nonfiction is concerned, I'm a sucker for competition docs. Movies like Spellbound and Wordplay have such wonderful natural payoffs that you have to stick with them to see what happens. So many documentaries have a great premise but they just meander around for a while and then just arbitrarily stop. My overriding goal was to make a film that paid off somehow, that had a crescendo, and any story surrounding a competition provides that very clear structure.

The tragic stories of Barbaro and the all-too-timely demise of Eight Belles at this year's Kentucky Derby have started to bring to light questions about the treatment of these animals, particularly by PETA who foam at such opportunities. But as a welcome segment of the film does caution against the amount of preparation on stress on the horse for such a major race, how much concern should the sport have about inquiries being made into its behind-the-scenes practices?

JOHN: I'm simply not qualified nor do I aspire to be a spokesman for racing. I'm a city kid who doesn't know the first thing about horses, but as a casual observer, I'm hopeful that these recent tragedies inspire racing to take a long hard look at the state of the sport. California has already mandated safer, synthetic surfaces which is certainly a step in the right direction. Breeding, however, is such big business that I fear it will be difficult to convince the big farms to breed for soundness rather than speed. Despite some fundamental institutional issues that need to be addressed with respect to racing, I don't believe that horse racing constitutes animal cruelty. These horses are not being asked to do anything that's contrary to their nature. It's not like racing is a circus where animals are asked to jump through flaming hoops. After the Derby, William Rhoden in the New York Times equated racing with bullfighting and that is just patently absurd. The goal is not to break down horses, the goal is to keep them healthy and race them. To do otherwise would be throwing money away.

One of the more unsightly moments of the live coverage was the juxtaposition of Eight Belle's shielded final moments and the exuberance of Big Brown's owners walking the track in joyful ecstasy. It was an unsubtle reminder that, despite the amount of honor and history we attach to the sport of kings, there is a lot of money involved and the horses have very little say in it. I thought a major flaw in Gary Ross' Seabiscuit was how the gambling aspect was basically forgotten about while metaphors about America needing something to root for dominated. Lost in the Fog's trainer, Greg Gilchrist, really seemed to be the guy true horse lovers would want caring for their animal first and as an investment second. Where is the dividing line between the best and the worst owners?

JOHN: I can only comment on my experience with Harry and Greg Gilchrist, Lost in the Fog's owner and trainer respectively. They proved to be animal lovers of the highest order and always put the welfare of their horses first. I interviewed a number of experts throughout racing and in speaking about Greg, many people made an interesting distinction between a trainer and a horseman. They always referred to Greg as a true horseman - someone who knows, respects, and protects the animals in his charge. This does suggest, however, that there are some in the business who might not be so scrupulous.

Honestly, how important are film critics nowadays?

JOHN: Critics are immensely important. Despite the recent bloodletting, critics continue to play a vital role especially with respect to a film's financial prospects. Sure, some big popcorn movies might be "critic-proof" but most people still rely on critics to help them winnow down the numerous releases each week. I know I do.

What would mean more to you? A full-on rave from an anonymous junketeer or an average, but critically constructive review from a respected print or online journalist?

JOHN: A full on rave from any junketeer is always suspect. I did that circuit when working in television and I know first hand that most correspondents or reporters or whatever you might call them, know little about movies and are more interested in feeling like they're in an intimate relationship with a celebrity actor or filmmaker. They're not. A critically constructive review is not particularly helpful either because it's after the fact. The film is done. A constructive review after a test screening would certainly have come in handy, however. If I had to choose, though, the opinion of a respected critic, or any knowledgeable film enthusiast for that matter, is more valuable because it could help inform my next film. 

Seabiscuit, Let It Ride, The Black Stallion, Phar Lap, A Day at the Races, National Velvet and Dreamer. Barring a write-in vote on your part, which films would you say best represent the sport itself, what are your favorites and what ONE film (from this batch or another) would you say exemplifies the beauty of the animal itself?

I'm going to go off the board on this one. Kate Davis made a movie called Jockey that aired on HBO that is a wonderful doc that really cuts through the glamor of the sport. As far as the beauty of the animal itself, it's gotta be The Black Stallion. Check out Equus, too, though. It's a little weird but there are definitely some beautiful animals in there.

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?

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


From: hatchery1


Wow, I want to see it!  Lost in the Fog was a true champion, lost too soon.

Tricia K.



From: Choklitz


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. 


From: pepsmom1


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


From: CherylJone2


Hay Shelley!

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?

In reply toRe: msg 6

From: Guest


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, 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.



From: dtpq



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.


In reply toRe: msg 9

From: Guest


Hi All!

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 sometime in the fall. Best to all and thanks for keeping the spirit of Lost in the Fog alive.

John Corey