ST. GEORGE — The Docutah International Documentary Film Festival is pleased to present a screening of the film “Boys of Bonneville: Racing on a Ribbon of Salt.” It will take place Friday at the Dixie State University Eccles Fine Arts Center at 7 p.m.
The documentary, narrated by actor Patrick Dempsey, tells the story of unsung hero and self-made man David Abbott “Ab” Jenkins, who, with almost superhuman stamina and boyish charm, set out to single-handedly break every existing land-speed record.
Jenkins’ car, the Mormon Meteor, races on a ribbon of salt, but “Boys of Bonneville” is more than a story of a car. According to a press release from Docutah, the film is about an America that has all but disappeared, when lucrative business deals were cemented by a handshake and state-of-the-art automobiles were designed on the backs of envelopes.
Seventy years later, many of Ab’s records remain unbroken and the legacy lives on in his custom car. Looking like something Batman would have owned, the story comes full circle when Ab’s son Marvin Jenkins restores the 12-cylinder, 4800-pound Mormon Meteor to its glory days for a ceremonial lap on the salt.
Using vintage newsreel footage from the 1930s to 1950s, photos, letters and the diaries of Ab Jenkins and Marv Jenkins during their 20-year run on the Salt Flats, Utah-based filmmakers bring these heroes back to life for a modern audience.
In addition to the pristine archival materials, the film features scenics and interviews shot entirely on high-definition cameras, including those with Jay Leno, Andy Green (current holder of the land-speed record), Marv Jenkins, Ab’s grandchildren and a rich assortment of racing heroes and historians.
“Boys of Bonneville” is that rare animal: an exhilarating film about an unknown American hero which leaves its audience cheering to the rafters and grabbing for their cell phones demanding to know “Who is this guy, and where can I see this car?”
In answer to the latter question, the Mormon Meteor will be on display outside the Eccles building beginning at noon on Friday to allow a new generation of filmmakers and racing enthusiasts to touch and feel the real deal.
The screening will be hosted by the film’s director, Curt Wallin.
Tickets for the film screening are available to reserve online and the cost is $10 cash at the door. Seats must be reserved in advance.
- What: Docutah International Documentary Film Festival Screening: “Boys of Bonneville: Racing on a Ribbon of Salt.”
- When: Friday, Feb. 23, 7 p.m. | The “Mormon Meteor” will be on display outside the Eccles Fine Arts Center
- Where: Dixie State University Eccles Fine Arts Center Main Stage, 225 S. 700 East, St. George.
- Cost: $10 cash at the door.
- Reserve tickets: Online. Seats must be reserved in advance.