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Automotive Articles

Celebrities, Race Car Drivers and Auto Enthusiasts Flocking To Oakhurst For Film Festival !!

Celebrities from the film industry, famous race car drivers and auto enthusiasts from all over the west are planning to converge on Oakhurst for the 2007 Southern Yosemite Automotive Film Festival, scheduled for March 21st through 25th, 2007.

Madera County has issued a proclamation, declaring March 18th - 25th to be “Official Film Festival Week” adding governmental sanction to what’s being billed as the biggest event to hit the Southern Yosemite Region since the earthquake of 1872.

Presiding over the grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony will be Congressman George Radanovich (R- Mariposa), long a supporter of film and tourism in the southern Sierra, State Senator Dave Cogdill, State

Assemblyman Tom Berryhill and Madera County Supervisor Tom Wheeler, a former racer and lifelong car enthusiast.

Film legend James Garner will be the recipient of the “Southern Yosemite Lifetime Achievement Award” for his work in automotive films. Both “Grand Prix” and his documentary “The Racing Scene” will be screened and drivers from his racing team, Scooter Patrick and Davey Jordan, will be on hand to sign autographs and tell stories about their racing careers. One of their original Corvettes, now
restored by Jim Herlinger of Santa Clara, will also be displayed.

The Lee Iacocca Foundation for diabetes research has selected the Southern Yosemite Automotive Film Festival as one of the places to present the Lee Iacocca Award, to be given to someone who best epitomizes both the automotive sport and community service.

A variety of never before or rarely seen films are on the agenda; John Schneider, of “Dukes of Hazzard” and Smallville” fame, will introduce his latest film, "Collier and Co. - Hot Pursuit" and display the latest incarnation of the “General Lee”. “Fast Lane Summer"; the New York Independent Film Festival Winner will be introduced by the cast and crew as well as by director Eli Bleich.

Of special interest to car enthusiasts will be the screening of “Sound of Speed”, a short film about
Lance Reventlow and his Scarab racing project. Director Bruce Kessler, who premiered this at the Cannes Film Festival in 1962, will be at the festival to discuss the making of this film and his own racing career.

Pontiac fans will appreciate 2004’s “The Last Ride”, starring Dennis Hopper and featuring a variety of
Pontiacs, and the director, Guy Bee, who will be in attendance, speaking about the making of the film.
The critically acclaimed and never before screened in California, “Dirt”, a documentary about stock car racing at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Texas and a winner at the Austin Film Festival, will be one of the Friday night featured films. Director Jeff Bowden will introduce the film and describe all that went into making it.

“Finish Line”; the Memory Lane Productions film will also be shown; introduced by the producer and cast. And the in production film “Hot Rod Horror” cast, producer and director, will be on hand to show a trailer and discuss the film.

Local resident Carollyn DeVore, a former Miss Times Grand Prix, now casting agency owner will direct
Saturday’s 50’s fashion show.

For Corvette buffs, Dick Guldstrand, known as “Mr. Corvette” for his long involvement with the marque and success in racing, will be here to sign autographs, showcase his latest book and show of his special edition Corvette ZO-6. Doug Hooper, being inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame this year for his racing successes in the Mickey Thompson Corvette's, will also be on hand.

Automotive authors will be here too. Harold Osmer, best known for his definitive book on long gone race tracks of Southern California, will attend, not only signing books but giving a brief talk about Southern California racetracks and displaying a variety of automotive books from Autobooks-Aerobooks of Burbank.

“Landspeed Louise” Noeth, will be autographing her Bonneville Salt Flat Racing book and introducing the critically acclaimed PBS documentary, “A Gullwing at Twilight”.

Tom Madigan, author of the critically acclaimed, "Dean Batchelor Award" winning "Edelbrock", will
also be on hand.

From “Cannonball Run II”, Richard Kiel, who portrayed a Mitsubishi engineer in the film, will be here, again signing autographs and talking to fans.

Featuring automotive related films from the 40’s through today, the film festival offers something for everyone, hard to find films such as Mickey Rooney’s 1949 “Big Wheel”, the original “The Fast and The Furious” from 1955, Sylvester Stallone’s “Driven”, the original “Gone in 60 Seconds”, “Days of Thunder” and more than 20 others.

With so many veterans of racing at the now defunct Riverside International Raceway attending, it’s only fitting that a Riverside Raceway Retrospective be
presented; with a short film of the 1965 Times
Grand Prix and stories of racing at Riverside, from veterans who ran the first event in 1957 to those
who ran the last in 1989.

The recent death of Formula One great Clay Regazzoni has prompted a brief remembrance program, with a special showing of the film, “50 Years of Formula One” as well as a dovcumentary of 1974 Grand Prix season, where Clay, driving for Ferrari, finished second in the world championship to Emerson Fittipaldi.

Speaking about Clay will be Chuck Jones, former partner in the Ensign Formula One team and Howden Ganley, former BRM Formula One driver.

The film festival week also includes exhibits from various racing organizations and central valley racetracks, selected (by invitation only) racing cars, customs, exotic and specialty cars, automobilia and souvenir vendors, a silent auction of racing memorabilia, celebrity autograph signings, limited access cocktail parties, wine tasting from local wineries and other auto related events.

The best thing about the film festival is that the proceeds all go to charity. From the Lee Iacocca Foundation to the Children’s Miracle Network to worthy causes in the Oakhurst area, everyone benefits from this event. A complete list of charities is on the film festival website,

And when you can’t watch any more movies, tours of Yosemite National Park, ski outings, golf tournaments, train rides on the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railway, hosted trips to the local Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino and a variety of family oriented events are available.

Tickets are now available online at the film festival website, or through the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce at 559.683.7766. Ticket quantities are limited as only a few hundred people can be accommodated. Special accommodation packages with local hotels are also available.

Oakhurst is 4 ½ hours driving time north of Los Angeles and 3 hours east of the San Francisco Bay area. Airline service through Fresno Yosemite International Airport is 45 minutes away.

For complete information visit the Film Festival website, or contact the Oakhurst Chamber of Commerce, online at or call 559.683.7766

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