Last summer, turf writer and Paulick Derby Index contributor Vic Zast took a memorable journey with two of his close friends (and the ashes of a third) from Chicago to the Arctic Circle. As a tribute to their friend, Zast and his buddies drove all that way to play a three-hole golf course in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada at midnight on the summer solstice.
Documentarian Martin Rodahl went along with the group and is making a film to be released this summer. More information and the trailer below.
Our Longest Drive, the feature-length documentary film being produced by Vic Zast – longtime horse racing turf writer and former industry executive – will have its first screening in Chicago at midnight of the longest day – June 21. Zast is scouting locations now.
The unusual time and date were selected to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the film's concluding scene – a game of golf on a three-hole grassless golf course played under the Arctic's midnight sun. US Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson joined Zast and his buddies, including one who participated by having his ashes driven along in a golf cart, for the event.
Zast and his buddies traveled sixteen days, ten to 12 hours each day via RV, across seven US states, two Canadian provinces and two territories, to make his movie. Director Martin Rodahl, representing the Chicago-based production company 71 Degrees North, assembled five cameramen to accompany the contingent. They produced 340 hours of film footage and are now in the process of editing it into a film running 90 minutes.
In one scene, Zast is seen downloading a video replay of the Belmont Stakes in Chetwin, British Columbia. In another scene, he's viewed overcoming his frustrations of sending in a story to one of his horse racing clients on deadline – there's no Internet for most of the locations visited. Other than that, the film is about golf.
The foursome played at the Stanley Thompson Resort Course in Banff Springs, Alberta, lofted sand wedges at their friend's urn in the Carcross Desert of The Yukon in a makeshift game of “Closest to Mike and drove balls into the endless tundra of the Northwest Territories and down the gravel road Dempster Highway.
After the Chicago summer solstice screening, Zast wants to tour the film at film festivals throughout North America. A summer resident of Saratoga Springs, NY, he has plans for a backyard screening of the film, a la a drive-in movie, during racing season. The trailer for the film rolled out last week at the Sundance Film Festival.
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