Out of Nothing: Local speed on the Utah Salt Flats

by Cait Auer

Have you ever craved the sensation of racing on a motorcycle while reaching record-breaking speeds? Are you a believer in human perseverance? Do you have a dream that is waiting to turn into a reality? Out Of Nothing is a gripping documentary fit for dreamers of all ages to find inspiration from a diverse team that comes together for a shot at beating the world record in land motorcycle racing at Bonneville’s Salt Flats.
It isn’t just the team’s attempt to set a speed record, but also the uplifting story of the film’s talented crew that is worth seeing. Each individual’s tale is compelling and relatable. The racing team is comprised of everyday working men who tirelessly pour their hearts into their passion of motorbike racing in our very own Bellingham. Racer and leader Mark Bjorklund’s determination and agility on the bike is reminiscent of any great hero worth rooting for. Mark’s brother, Carl, builds astounding bikes from the ground up. Bill Woods, the tuner extraordinaire makes sure that the bikes are running with perfection. Jason Omar’s scientific technique in building a race plan is pure genius. Viewers are lucky enough to be able to follow them in their journey to the flats, to experience the adrenaline and the rush of a competition, and to see the group’s hard work tested for a moment in time against all odds to beat the record.
Producer Andrew Lahmann fell in love with the production as well as the motorcycle community while working on the project at Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats. “I didn’t know anything about motorcycles,” Lahmann said. “It was more the story behind this that actually appealed to me, these people who are following their dreams, and we know what that’s like. It’s a story we can tell.”
Lahmann noted meeting the guys and the rest of the community is something you can only describe after being there. “It’s hard to convey to other people just how special that community really is. When you’re down there and you see the way they treat everybody else, it’s pretty rare to find that all in one place, these different types of people who are trying to find ways to one up the other when down there it’s kind of everybody helps everybody.”
Artistically, the film is as visually enticing as it is sentimentally gripping. The director/executive producer/cinematographer, Chad DeRosa, cleverly orchestrates incredible scenic footage backdrops while highlighting such a tight-knit community. The theme of community is deeply rooted in the documentary, featuring talent from Bellingham and the Pacific Northwest. Even the soundtrack features Bellingham based musicians, including Br’er Rabbit, Blindfate, and Western Washington University violinist Emily Ponten.
“It started with a local filmmaker, local bike riders, and it grew to a team of local people,” DeRosa stated. “Everybody’s all about being local.”
Lahmann fondly added, “It seems silly to go out and find people at other places when the talent’s right here. Bring a project to the forefront that’s deserving of time, and the good talent comes out. Over the past decade, we’ve assembled a team of people that we trust and rely on. When a team like that assembles, it’s hard to go wrong, and it makes you understand why you’re working with people up here. This film couldn’t happen in LA. Bellingham’s not saturated by the film community.”
Like the rest of the documentary crew, DeRosa is also achieving his dreams while working on the film, where his many talents are recognized and admired. “If you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything you want. At one point in my life, I never would think that I’d be involved in a project like this,” he said. “To believe that you can do anything is what I’ve learned about myself. If you have that mentality, you can go places.”
“It’s a project to be proud of and it hasn’t even been released yet. I wouldn’t change one minute of it.” Lahmann added, “It’s reminiscing parallel to the story of the film, which is interesting. These guys are all trying to achieve something for these lifelong personal goals.”
“Through all of it there are so many parallels between our own personal stories and the personal stories of the people in the film and how the film came together, it’s out of nothing,” said DeRosa. “It started out  of  nothing. The guys with the bikes start with nothing in the garage.”
The film premieres at Mount Baker Theatre on May 17. For more information, see www.outofnothingmovie.com.