On May 6 nearly 500 invited guests attended the world premiere of the documentary The Quest at the Carlisle Theatre in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The 85-minute movie, created by Texas-based filmmaker Michael Brown, showcases a journey that spans 50 years in the life of a Corvette, a man, and the dream that united them.
Using archival footage and photographs, Brown gave viewers a dramatic account of the accident-plagued Corvette effort at the 1960 Le Mans race, one that culminated with an improbable class win for the marque year. The film also recounts how the winning No. 3 Corvette, along with its sister cars, disappeared into obscurity shortly after the event.
Interwoven into that story, Brown used never-before-seen footage, photos, and interviews to chronicle the story of renowned car enthusiast Chip Miller, and his quest to find and restore the missing No. 3 Vette. His ultimate goal was to take the car—along with one of its original race drivers, John Fitch—back to Le Mans in 2010 to mark the 50th anniversary of its historic victory. Tragically, Miller's life was cut short in 2004 as a result of a rare and incurable plasma-cell disorder called Amyloidosis.
Miller's son, Lance, fulfilled his father's dream by returning No. 3 to Le Mans for last year's race. At his side was the 92-year-old Fitch. Lance commented that, "The premiere was beyond our wildest expectations, and the film itself exceeded my expectations as well. I was blown away. It was a simply awesome evening."
After the premiere, Brown noted that, "The response of the audience to the film—which included four separate rounds of applause during the premiere, as well as a sustained standing ovation at its conclusion—confirmed the high regard that so many people had for Chip Miller, and also have for Lance and what he did to honor his father's memory.
"As a filmmaker, I recognized immediately that it's a rare thing when a story of this caliber, this depth and with this much universal appeal presents itself," he added. "I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work closely with Lance and the Miller family in bringing this great family history to life on the screen."
A part of the evening's festivities also focused on the continuing work of the Chip Miller Charitable Foundation, and its efforts to raise funds and increase awareness of Amyloidosis. Brown generously donated the proceeds from the premiere directly to the Foundation.
Brown is now in the process of negotiating a mass-market release of the documentary. For those attending the Corvettes at Carlisle event, an encore screening of The Quest will be held on Thursday, August 25, at the Carlisle Theatre. Details may be found at www.questdocumentary.com.