AIM FOR THE ROSES: Movie immortalizes failed attempt to jump St. Lawrence River

CORNWALL, Ontario – The mysticism of a bizarre stunt involving a rocket-powered car jumping the St. Lawrence River has been immortalized on film.

‘Aim for the Roses’, from writer John Bolton, had its world premiere on the weekend in Toronto. The road to the premiere of the film featured at Hot Docs – the Canadian international documentary festival – is nearly as circuitous as the stunt itself.

The stunt involved flying over the St. Lawrence River in a rocket-powered Lincoln with Canadian Ken Carter at the wheel in the 1970s. Carter never actually made the attempt – he was replaced at the last minute by American Ken Powers.

The movie is about the jump, but also about a 2008 concept album written by double bassist Mark Haney who paid tribute to the spectacle by way of music.

Not unlike the failed jump (the car barely made it off the ramp before disintegrating) there’s a lot of moving parts, so try to keep up.

“It was kind of like going down the rabbit hole. I never thought I would listen to this album and then get to know people who knew so much about Ken Carter,” said Bolton, who also produced and directed the movie. “I had to sort of focus. For me, what’s interesting is this is my interpretation of Mark’s interpretation of Ken. Those are the levels.”

The movie features a liberal dose of two Cornwall-area men who remain fascinated with the jump and the mythos of the time.

Andrew Whitton and Cody Glive have created the Ken Carter Preservation Society. They have collected ‘relics’ of the Lincoln that was destroyed in the jump, including one of the vehicle’s wings and are featured prominently in the film.

“They give a tour of the site and offer their opinions after all these years,” said Bolton, adding the duo received an ovation when they were introduced to the audience following the movie’s premiere. “What’s been really fun is to see them. They’re now characters in the Ken Carter story.”

Whitton and Glive showed the jump site to Bolton when the filmmaker toured the site as the movie was being prepared. While the pair were upset that the locale has seen the ramp demolished and left to the wilds, Bolton was impressed.

“It’s overgrown…this is exactly what you want for a film because it looks so different,” said Bolton. “There’s a part in the film where they show us the garbage that has been left there.

“They said It would be nice if this would become a heritage sight.”

The film is available to rent, or purchase, at iTunes and Bolton said it’s hoped Aim for the Roses will be screened locally in the future.

“We’re going to do everything we can to do a screening there – it’s just tough to say when,” he said.

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