In Indiana when movies are made about high school basketball, the shot always goes in at the end.
However, within the next few months, a pair of filmmakers, Davy Rothbart and Andrew Cohn, will show us a side of high school basketball in the Hoosier state that isn’t so quite so well-scripted.
The movie is about the struggles of tiny Medora High School and the Medora Hornet basketball team, not only on the court, but off as well. The pair hope to show how a tiny town and its team hang on by life support as poverty, drugs and alcohol, and unemployment are as much fixtures in the locker room as sweat socks and showers.
The struggles of Medora were well-chronicled in a 2009 New York Times article, where the labors of the coach just to put a team on the floor involved as much social work as it did chalkboard “X”s and “O”s.
With that story as the starting point, filmmakers followed Medora throughout the entire season as they struggled to win even a single game.
Many Washington Catholic fans might remember the film crews coming to the Birdcage just over a year ago to film, and there is a good chance some of that footage might make it into the final cut.
“I think that night was homecoming there (at WC). It seemed like every road game we went to was someone else’s homecoming,” said Cohen.
“It really is a film really shines a light on small towns, both the positives and negatives.”
The film looks like it might end up as an ESPN “30 for 30” documentary or with some other outlet, however that will require a significant amount of funding.
The filmmakers have gone to the Internet and are currently raising money on the Kickstarter site, a website that puts potentials donors together with people who are trying to get their creative projects funded.
They are currently trying to raise $65,000 to finish the project. Then, they will then need to hire an editor, as well as buy hard drives and licensing of music. Currently they have raised almost $50,000.
“The one thing that I want people to know is that none of the ‘Kickstarter’ money goes into our pockets. It is all for production,” said Cohen. “We are not trying to get rich, we are trying to tell a really good story.”
Current Washington High School principal Paul White may have had one of the closest looks at Medora, as he was the head basketball coach there from 2003 to 2007 and knew the players the Times article was written about.
He said that he was disappointed with the Times story, because it didn’t show much of the good that is still happening in Medora.
“There are a lot of great people there doing a lot to help,” said White. “I think from a basketball standpoint these are a lot of the same challenges faced by a lot of really small schools.”
Cohen said they were very conscious about the Times story and how the people of Medora felt burned by it.
“We want to be honest with the story, but it is more about showing the struggles that people face in small towns like this, but also the resiliency that these folks have,” added Cohen.
Cohen added that he thinks southern Indiana basketball fans will really appreciate the scenes at sectional.
“I don’t want to give away too much, but it is a special scene,” said Cohen.
Right now production is slated to wrap up this fall and Cohen hopes to premiere it at several film festivals over the winter and said there will definitely be a premiere in southern Indiana as well.
“Since there is a little time between the end of filming and when it premiers, we will be able to do some follow up on these kids and I think you will see they are a lot like other kids with the ups and downs that have happened to them,” added Cohen.
To find out more about the film or the process, log on to kickstarter.com or medorafilm.com
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