We're kicking off the Jalopnik Film Festival this Wednesday with an all-star panel on car culture, racing, and films with a quartet of the most interesting people who would take our phone calls, including Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi, racer/mogul Ken Block, and directors James Glickenhaus and Tamir Moscovici.
Our film festival is entirely sold out, sadly, although we're going to work on a way for more people to get passes if we can find the room. In the meantime, if you do have a pass you're definitely invited to our invite-only launch party, where you'll be treated to food, drinks, and a panel hosted by me.
We'll be talking films, cars, racing, video games, and whatever else comes to my mind while I'm on stage. Here's the panel
Kazunori Yamauchi — GranTurismo Producer, Racer The first automotive game Kaz ever designed was a kart-racing adventure called Motor Toon Grand Prix that, despite the cartoon graphics, mimicked realistic handling. It was from there that Sony tapped him to create Gran Turismo, which became the most important racing video game of all time. Though not the first of its kind, Kaz's commitment to realism is the model for all other serious racing sims. Kaz is also an enthusiastic race car driver, having competed at the Nürburgring in the VLN and 24 Hours of Nürburgring, where he's achieved numerous class victories.
He's also the reason why so many of us can tell you all the differences between various specs of all the Nissan GT-Rs that weren't sold here, and why an R33 NISMO 400R is the best OF ALL TIME.
Ken Block — Hoonigan Supreme My favorite line about Ken Block (aka Sheriff Kensco P. Hoontrane) comes from Bill Caswell, who pointed out that more Americans have walked on the moon than scored points in the World Rally Championship. That makes Ken Block better than an astronaut. He's delighted us with his Gymkhana videos, drifted all the things, and brought hooning into American homes through our computers.
There's simply more to say about Ken Block than can fit in a short introduction, but it wouldn't be an overstatement to say that he's the most popular driver in America who hasn't raced around Indy.
James Glickenhaus — Director, Collector Where to start? While most über collectors seem to have more money than sense or taste, James Glickenhaus may have more taste and sense than money. He had Ferrari and Pininfarina design him his own one-off car, which he then followed up with a racing version he keeps campaigning at the 'Ring (and drives around New York as it's street legal). He has an amazing collection of classics and he does insane things like drive an Alfa 8C Competizione to the train station.
As this is a film festival, it's worth noting that Glickenhaus is also a writer/director/producer behind a series of outrageous low-budget thrillers and vigilante justice flicks.
Tamir Moscovici — Director Israeli-born filmmaker Tamir Moscovici has made a series of short documentaries about racing, artistic obsession, and the automobile. His latest film Urban Outlaw is about the Porsche customizer and artist Magnus Walker earned accolades and a ton of attention from car enthusiasts. He's also worked on some of your favorite commercials.