Cleveland International Film Festival } March 29 – April 9, 2017

Keeping Up With Mike Charlton

April 04, 2013   |   posted in


Mike Charlton of Eastlake, Ohio, is a man with a mission: to break the land speed record by building the ultimate jet-powered motorcycle. When Director José Asunción first met Charlton at the Bonneville Salt Flats, he knew right away that Charlton would make a great subject for a documentary film.

Producer Brian Davis and editor Christopher Yogi both agreed—Charlton was meant for the big screen. The three went to school together at the University of Southern California, and have been working together ever since.

“I was taken aback by Mike’s presence on screen,” says Davis. “I hadn’t really seen a character like him before, and I was really drawn into his story with the strong aspects of redemption and being an underdog.”

Yogi adds, “José showed me some footage and I was blown away—the camera loves Mike; there’s no other way to put it. He’s magnetic and I was immediately interested in learning more about him.”

Asunción , wo is one of the recipients of CIFF’s Focus on Filmmakers Awards, participated in Film Independent’s Documentary Lab while making this feature. The project, which provides support to works in progress like “Sick Mick and the Boys,” is kind of like a “support group” for filmmaking according to Asunción.

Even with the support of Film Independent, though, the project was challenging, especially given the hectic nature of Mike Charlton’s everyday life, as his aspiration to break the land speed record—achieve the highest recorded speed for a land based vehicle— is a daunting one.

“It is a competition film,” says Asunción, “so it should have a relatively easy structure, but Mike’s life doesn’t fit into that structure. Every day is dramatic—keeping up with Mike, the twists and turns of his daily life, was a challenge.”

—Bridget Kriner

Pictured: Editor Christopher Yogi, Director José Asunción, and Producer Brian Golden Davis. Photo by Meaghan Earley.

PDF  Download Related PDF [1,016.9 KB]

Related Screenings:
04/04/13 @ 9:00 PM – Sick Mick and the Boys
04/05/13 @ 2:30 PM – Sick Mick and the Boys
04/06/13 @ 12:00 PM – Sick Mick and the Boys

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