I recently released Why We Play, a documentary on touch football I directed and produced this year, online. The film is meant to highlight the benefits of playing recreational sports as an adult. While my own experience playing touch football isn’t highlighted in the film, I thought it was important to share in terms of my motivation for making it.
Currently I’m in the midst of producing Moccasin Stories, a short documentary set to premiere on VOD in 2017. The experience has given me the opportunity to learn about the cultural significance of moccasins, but I can’t help but recognize the impact it’s had on me as a learner.
I recently helped out members of the Aboriginal Student Leadership group at Maples Collegiate during my teaching practicum with a video.
Tired of constantly facing abusive social media posts about Indigenous people the student group decided to tackle fight back by issuing a statement. Film and Video is a medium to express yourself, and in many cases is a powerful tool to get your point across.
Bear in the Window Pictures is proud to announce that Why We Play is now available on VOD through MTS cable as part of MTS’ Stories From Home programming. Translation: If you live Manitoba, you can watch it if you have MTS cable by scrolling to the Stories From Home section. We’ll be rolling out wider distribution in August 2016.
I was introduced to touch football through friends of friends back in 2011. I was new to the city, and after spending the prior 4 years involved in coaching football or playing junior football after high school I was excited to get back to some form of the sport.
Then I was told of the game times. 1am in the morning. If you got lucky, you’d get a kickoff slot before midnight. Playing in the league tied up your weekend. It tested your fatigue. Despite the elements (keep in mind, I’m referring to the indoor portion of the league) thousands came out every season to play. We’re talking every skill set, from newcomer, to former tackle stars. If you wanted to play ball, there was a spot for you.
Being a filmmaker, I’m always looking for stories to tell. There wasn’t a shortage when it came to the players in the league, and how they fit playing touch football in their lives.
Lawson, plays the game at the age of 78, running with players in there twenties all summer long. He once told me that touch football kept his feet fresh for teaching line dancing. Jon Franklin, a Statistics Professor, once led a team to the national football championship at quarterback, despite not playing tackle in high school. For Marshall and Roxanna Cox, touch football offered a new way to compete and also make friends as they started a family.
Everyone has a different reason for playing touch football. In Why We Play, we see people continuing to enjoy competition at a time in their life when sports and being physically fit often becomes an afterthought.
Yeah, the pic’s a little fuzzy, but it was taken quickly in the moment. Above is my attempt of getting NSI’s 2015 New Voices class in a semi-failed Ellen-selfie type of shot.
I visited the class during alumni day this week. Brought back old memories. You see, I was part of the 2013 New Voices class. The program is designed to get Aboriginal youth involved in the Winnipeg film and television industry.
It was nice to see other alumni talk about their current projects, and it was great to reflect and realize just how successful the project is. For Why We Play, everyone involved so far has either been through New Voices, Aboriginal, or has taken a program through NSI. They’re probably dozens of projects worked on every year by New Voices grads.
A little over 50 years ago, Lawson helped his “normal” school (what they called the Faculty of Education back in the day) touch football teammates win a championship game. He didn’t play football again until he was 67 years old. Now at 77 years old, he’s still going strong, which is evident by the below clip.
A little bit about the project
I started shooting what I’m currently calling “Why We Play”, a short documentary that features the PIT Football League in Winnipeg, Manitoba, this spring. The film is set to hit video on demand on MTS in Manitoba in 2016, and will be distributed internationally afterward.
Touch Football Documentary in Production
Why We Play follows a group of 3 touch football players during the summer season of touch football. You’re probably giggling at the notion of touch football at this point, however, unknown to many Winnipeg actually has the biggest touch football league in Canada (referred to as The PIT Football League). It’s also made up of a diverse set of players. Unlike the other elite leagues in Canada, who’s rosters are made up mainly of CIS and former professional athletes, in Winnipeg athletes range through all experience levels, ages, and genders. A few year’s back The Avengers showed Canada what touch football in Winnipeg looks like, capturing the National Championship crowd.