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The City Journals

Filmmaker spotlights an inspiring Murray youth who died tragically

Jul 22, 2021 11:50AM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Tucker Dansie (center, light blue shirt) stands with Marc Simons’ friends at the debut of his movie about the Murray youth’s legacy. (Photo courtesy Tucker Dansie)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

A life taken too soon has been a longtime inspiration to the friends who were with Marc Simons on that fateful day in January 1996. Those friends have now told their story to filmmaker Tucker Dansie, who has created a documentary about the Murray High senior’s impact during his short lifetime.

Adam Longmore, Peter Griggs, Dax Reid, and Simons were four-wheeling on the west side of Utah Lake when they attempted a tricky maneuver on a steep hill in the open-top Jeep CJ-5 and rolled. Investigators at the scene believed the Jeep rolled five or six times, ejecting Griggs and crushing Simons.

Filmmaker Tucker Dansie, who attended Murray High with Simons, remembers how his death impacted the community, especially Simons’ friends.

“The story was originally meant to just celebrate Marc, but I quickly realized that it would be great for people that knew him or family members, but [it] wouldn’t connect with a general audience. As I started to interview friends, I noticed a through line that struck me as unique. That all of the core, main group of friends have all grown up, do great things with their lives, have spouses and families and, generally, everyone seems to be doing amazingly well. I found that many of the friends were taking to ‘living their life for Marc,’” Dansie said.

Dansie also has a personal connection, as he too was invited to go off-roading with that group of friends, but circumstances prevented him from going. As 2021 marked a milestone anniversary, Dansie felt the time was right to tell Simons’ story.

“As a filmmaker, it’s a story I have wanted to tell for a long time, in many ways to celebrate Marc’s life,” Dansie said. “I just wasn’t sure how to approach it until I just started making it. It also coincided with the 25-year anniversary of the accident, so the original aim was to have something by January 2021.”

“REMARKABLE: Marc’s Story” is the first episode in a planned documentary anthology series called “REMARKABLE.” The first episode focuses on the tragic four-wheeling accident that took the life of Simons and how his life affected the community and brought a high school together.

Simons’ friends credit how the life-changing event of losing Simons has been central to their life choices. Longmore went on to coach college volleyball teams and Griggs is now a pilot. Those who were at the crash, and other friends of Simons, stay closely connected to this day.

Dansie has been producing films for a while, most recently doing freelance music videos for local musicians. “These are my passion projects,” Dansie said.

After graduating from the Vancouver Film School, Dansie worked for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints film department and produced many early “Mormon Messages.” These highly viewed stories were usually short documentaries with religious teaching.

“I wanted to continue to tell ‘remarkable stories about remarkable people’ but be able to do it on my own time, on projects I had a passion for, especially if they didn’t fit the ‘religious’ tenor of the church projects,” Dansie said.

In addition to marking Simons’ death, Dansie also felt driven to provide some closure for Simons’ parents.

“I started with the interview of Marc’s parents, Richard and Colleen,” Dansie said. “Marc’s parents are not doing great healthwise. I felt like it was the honorable thing to make this movie for his parents and express appreciation for them for allowing Marc to be part of our lives, even if it was for a short time. The end product turned out better than I could have expected.”

Currently streaming on Tubi, Vimeo, Plex, and Xumo, Dansie expects other platforms will soon pick up his project. Still, Dansie hopes viewers will see the central theme of his film.

“Ultimately, it’s about friendship that lasts beyond tragedy,” Dansie said.