Red Dirt Rising – Feature Film
Red Dirt Rising is the story of love in the time of moonshine as three stock car racing’s earliest heroes come of age to find escape from life’s challenges on the track, ultimating shaping the future of their families and auto racing during the Fightin’ Forties. Jimmie Lewallen leads the pack as he struggles to extract himself from a life of poverty. Risking bootlegging and family farm obligations present early obstacles, but when he falls for a mysterious divorcee, Carrie James, he has to find a way to harmonize family and his love of racing. Jimmie encounters camaraderie and competition in his best friends Bill Blair and Fred Harb. Together, their antics lay the groundwork for one of the most lucrative sports in the world. As racing’s popularity rises, the boys witness tragedy and unscrupulous business practices until one man’s vision to legitimize the sport offers them the chance of a lifetime. From hauling moonshine on warm North Carolina evenings to marriage and fatherhood, the stakes are raised when the U.S. enters World War II and Jimmie must prove himself an honorable man on the battlefield, the track, and at home.
SuttleFilm began filming in October 2007 for 24 days in Archdale, North Carolina and High Point, North Carolina. Due to the timing of the production and the release of the Red One Digital Cinema Camera in the United States, Red Dirt Rising was one of the first feature-length films shot on the new camera system.
Although most of filming happened during 2007, additional photography including the World War 2 sequences and some minor reshoots were completed in the summer of 2009.
The world premier of the film was held at the North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina in 2010 to an audience of approximately 4000. Throughout the summer, the film was in limited release theatrically throughout the Southeast and mid Atlantic. In 2011 the film was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital Download. A percentage of the proceeds was donated to the Racing Legends Medical Hardship Fund, a nonprofit organization founded in 1991.
Many important racing firsts occurred during the Fightin’ Forties, making this film a sensational history lesson as well as an exciting journey of romance, friendship, and action. SuttleFilm is proud to have been apart of telling such an amazing story and to have been able to use such new technology at the time.