categories: Cocktail Hour / Movies
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If you liked “Ultimate Glory,” you’re going to love this.
Help support Flatball: A History of Ultimate at Indiegogo here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flatball-a-history-of-ultimate
Colchester, England. August 3, 1994. The plush, green pitch is lined with diagonal stripes marking the end zones, and fans from around the world are on hand to witness the final match of the World Championships between Sweden and the USA. When the USA drops a pass, it appears as though Sweden, just 30 yards away from their goal, will win the game and avenge a devastating 1988 semifinal loss to the same American team. The Americans are stunned and appear to be looking for a foul call on the throw – but none comes. In fact, no referees are around to make a call, because this is a game of ultimate frisbee – and in ultimate, there are no referees.
Nearly 20 years after that historic game, ultimate is on the verge of exploding. Recent deals with Nike, Puma, and ESPN, and growing recognition by the International Olympic Committee indicate the sport’s increasing legitimacy, and in 2012, the first ever professional ultimate league was launched in the United States, where referees are in, self officiation is out, and critics worry that the spirit of the game is disappearing. The conflict between the sport’s deeply-spirited roots and its ambitions for a broader audience continues. Flatball: A History of Ultimate is a feature-length documentary that examines issues like these while celebrating ultimate’s rich history and culture.
Flatball’s colorful cast of characters from legendary 1980s powerhouse team New York, New York provide the backdrop for an entire generation of players responsible for spreading ultimate around the world. With ultimate now being played by five million men, women and children worldwide, Flatball sheds light on the evolution of the sport, as well as giving viewers an inside look at the hot topics in the ultimate community today. The film takes viewers to places like Israel, where ultimate’s spirit is alive and well, as Ultimate Peace unites Muslim and Jewish players in sport-focused camps; and to New Jersey, in 1968 at Columbia High School, where the sport was invented. Flatball journeys to Sweden, Japan, and England, where international ultimate was born. The modern era is highlighted with footage from the USA Ultimate College and Club National Championships, the World Ultimate Championships in Japan, the American Ultimate Disc League with star player Brodie Smith, and on the road with the barnstorming NexGen tour.
The 90-minute film is packed with exciting archival and contemporary footage interspersed with classic and modern interviews from the biggest names in ultimate:
- Dan “Stork” Roddick (Wham-O)
- Tom Kennedy (Condors)
- Kenny Dobyns and Pat King (New York, New York)
- Steve Mooney (Boston)
- Beau Kittredge and Bart Watson (Revolver)
- Claire Desmond and Dominique Fontenette (Fury)
- Kevin Minderhout and Dylan Freechild (NexGen Tour)
- David Barkan and Josh Wiseman (Ultimate Peace)
- Charlie Langdon-Mead (Great Britain)
- Paul and Danny Eriksson (Sweden)
- Masa Honda (Japan)
- …and more!
Dennis “Cribber” Warsen discovered ultimate by chance while walking home from basketball practice on the SUNY-Purchase campus in the Spring of 1986. This fateful event started his lifelong journey through the ultimate world, commencing with his play on the storied New York, New York team, with whom he won an unprecedented six national and five world championships, culminating in a 2012 induction into the USA Ultimate Hall of Fame.
Warsen retired from competitive ultimate in 2002 and began to focus on a career in sports photojournalism, stepping into a role as Director of Photography for the San Francisco 49ers Total Access show, for which he won an Emmy in 2009.
Sensing that the time had come for a feature length film that would bring ultimate’s fascinating story to the masses, he left his job in 2012 and began to assemble footage for what has now become Flatball: A History of Ultimate.
We believe that Flatball has the potential to do for ultimate what Endless Summer did for surfing and what Dogtown and Z-Boys did for skateboarding. In a sports world plagued by doping scandals, match fixing, showboating, and violence, Flatball can finally highlight to mainstream audiences the values and spirit that make ultimate the coolest sport on the planet.
There have been other films made about ultimate, but Flatball is the first all-encompassing documentary positioned to showcase the sport to an audience that is not yet familiar with it.
If we are able to realize our plan, Flatball will have the chance to inspire tens of thousands of kids and parents around the world to get involved with ultimate after viewing it for the first time on the big screen.
Flatball has been a volunteer-driven passion project for the past two years, as people from all over the world have provided their likenesses for on-camera interviews and donated photos and archival footage. The film has been completely shot, and now the funds we seek are for post-production.
We’re seeking the help of the ultimate community and everyone else that shares our vision of bringing this sport’s story to the big screen in order to:
- Hire an editor, narrator, and graphic designer
- License music and archival footage
- Pay for legal and accounting services
- Market and promote the film to bring ultimate’s message to as many viewers as possible
- And finally, provide funds for increased distribution through live screenings, DVD production, and digital download setup
The minimum we seek to raise to finish the film is $30,000. Additional funds will better help us in bringing the film to a wider audience, meaning more editing manpower, licensed music, larger film festivals, and additional tour stops.