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P.O.V.’s “SPEEDO: A DEMOLITION DERBY LOVE STORY”
By Jesse Moss
MEDIA ALERT – FACT SHEET
National Air Date: Tuesday, August 24, 2004 at 10:00 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings)
Summary: This award-winning film looks at the promising racing career and troubled
family life of Ed "Speedo" Jager, one of the nation's top demolition-derby
drivers. Trapped in a failing marriage, Speedo channels life's frustrations onto
the track, hoping to parlay his talents into a "real" racing career. The film
captures Speedo's collisions and confrontations during one tumultuous year as
he struggles to achieve his dreams on the track and succeed as a husband, a
father and a man. When he falls for Liz, a racetrack official from New Jersey,
his life takes a surprising turn.
Statement: Jesse Moss
“Originally, I was planning on making a film about the many drivers who
compete in demolition derbies at the Riverhead Raceway in Long Island. I
made my first visit to the track one summer evening in 1999, out of mere
curiosity, and was instantly intoxicated by the amazing spectacle – the sounds,
the smoke, the smells – everything about it was fascinating to me. I
wondered why these men felt compelled to compete by taking their cars and
crashing them into each other and I was interested in exploring the culture of
“Then I met Ed „Speedo‟ Jager, who at the time was the demolition derby
champion of Long Island. He was so captivating and original that I knew I had
to make my film about him. At first, I intended to focus specifically on
Speedo‟s racing, but as I followed more of his personal life, that quickly
became the focus of the film. I was continually struck by his devotion to his
two boys, despite the frustration and anger in his marriage. Then, when it
appeared he had hit rock bottom, the film became a love story.”
Peoples & Places
In Speedo: Ed “Speedo” Jager
Born in 1959 in Queens, New York, Ed “Speedo” Jager spent his teenage years
building dirt bikes and motorized toys from junkyard materials. He started
derby racing in 1994 at Riverhead Raceway.
He married his wife Linda in 1979; they divorced in 2000. They have two
sons: Anthony, born in 1983 now a stock car derby racer, and Michael, born in
1988, also an aspiring racecar driver.
Speedo currently works at Haggan‟s Tire and Auto in Flemington, N.J. He lives
in Raritan Township, N.J. with his girlfriend, Liz Mallows, who was a track
official at Flemington Speedway until it closed in 2000. Liz‟s daughter, Tasha,
and Ed‟s son Michael also live with them. Speedo continues to race in New
Jersey and New York, primarily at Riverhead Raceway, where his oldest son,
Anthony, competes. On his off-hours and weekends, he continues to build and
Built in 1949, this demotion-derby raceway is one of the oldest in the country.
Located near the last exit on the Long Island Expressway, the raceway is one-
quarter mile asphalt, high-banked oval, which includes a Figure 8 course.
Riverhead Raceway is part of the NASCAR Winston Racing Series circuit and is
the only NASCAR stock car track in the New York metropolitan area. It has
five to six racing divisions every Saturday night with an average car count of
150 cars in the pits.
(Source: “New York Racetracks and Dragways,” Raceway Media Magazine,
Biography: Jesse Moss
Recently named by Filmmaker Magazine one of “25 New Faces of Independent
Film,” Jesse Moss is the founder of Mile End Films, a New York-based film and
television production company. Prior to Speedo, Moss produced and directed
Con Man, a one-hour documentary about an Ivy League imposter, which aired
on HBO/Cinemax in 2002. He is currently completing a documentary special
for AMC about Republicans in Hollywood. In 1999, Moss produced Juvies for
A&E Investigative Reports. Moss was associate producer of the Oscar®-
nominated boxing documentary On the Ropes. Previously, he worked as a
producer and associate producer for Academy Award®-winningfilmmaker
Barbara Kopple. He also produced and directed Safe in the City, a fiction
short about HIV and STD prevention, for the Centers for Disease Control
(CDC), and Voices of Youth, a documentary short about foster care, for San
Francisco's Youth Law Center and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Moss is an
occasional contributor to indieWIRE, the on-line independent film magazine,
and has worked as a policy aide and speechwriter on Capitol Hill. He
graduated with honors from the University of California at Berkeley.
Producer/Director: Jesse Moss
Editor: Aaron Lubarsky
Additional Editing: Youna Kwak
Cinematography: Jesse Moss
Music: Jack Livesey
Co Producer: Amanda McBaine
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival (2003) – Audience Award
Newport International Film Festival (2003) – Special Jury Prize
Independent Film Festival, Boston (2003) - Grand Jury Prize, Best Documentary
Hamptons International Film Festival (2003) – Audience Award, Best Long Island Film
On P.O.V. Interactive:
History Of The Demolition Derby
According to the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary, the term "demolition
derby" came into common use around 1953. Photographer and demolition
derby expert Bill Lowenburg traces the history of the sport from its origins to
Pinky Tuscadero to its present status as a county fair phenomenon.
Step Into Speedo's World
Ed "Speedo" Jager invites you to take a tour of his "personal yard of
recreational vehicles." Learn more in this interactive audio and photo gallery
about the beauty of junk and the mechanics of demolition derby driving. Hear
from Speedo on what he learned about himself by watching the film.
Find your nearest demolition derby, learn more about the rules of the sport
and get to know some of the star teams through our curated links.
About P.O.V.: Now in its 17th season on PBS, P.O.V. is the first and longest-running series
on television to feature the work of America‟s most innovative documentary
storytellers. Bringing over 200 award-winning films to millions nationwide, and
now a new Web-only series, P.O.V.’s Borders, P.O.V. has pioneered the art of
presentation and outreach using independent non-fiction media to build new
communities in conversation about today‟s most pressing social issues.
Major funding for P.O.V. is provided by the John D. and Catherine T.
MacArthur Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York
State Council on the Arts, the Educational Foundation of America, PBS and
public television viewers. Funding for P.O.V.’s Borders: Environment
(www.pbs.org/pov/borders) is provided by the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting. Support for P.O.V. is provided by Starbucks Coffee Company.
P.O.V. is presented by a consortium of public television stations including
KCET/Los Angeles, WGBH/Boston, and WNET/New York. Cara Mertes is
executive director of P.O.V., which is a division of American Documentary, Inc.
To download additional press materials, transcripts and color art visit P.O.V.’s online
pressroom at www.pbs.org/pov/pressroom.