Friday, December 12, 2014

Guaran-Sheed: The Block Heard 'Round The World

Some times the biggest moment in a teams road to a championship is not winning the final game or even beating the final team in the playoffs. And in 2004 the Detroit Pistons' road to the NBA Championship was just that.  Facing up in Indiana for the Eastern Conference Finals against Reggie Miller and the Pacers.  The Pistons were not predicted to win.  And after a lost in the first round, it seemed the predictions were going to be right.  All predictions accept one.   The one made by Rasheed Wallace who directly after the first lost guaranteed a win in game 2.  It was a prediction that would become one of the most famous statements in Rasheed's career and would marry his words to one of the greatest blocks in NBA history made by Tayshaun Prince.

Pieced together by interviews with Pistons long-time commentator George Blaha and Detroit News sports columnists Chris McCosky and Vince Goodwill.  And married together with the archives from that era and footage of the Detroit Pistons current logos and facilities.  I am happy to present, Guaran-Sheed: The Block Heard 'Round the World.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

i was a skate rat

Love this short doc by cinematographer Drew Miller about skating.  It captures the pure essence of what we love in every sport.  Comradery and friendship, the support of those who can relate, doing it for the love, doing it when no one else is doing it, pioneering, and the meaning of doing something you care about against any limits set upon it.  Cut in black & white, this piece really captures a timeless essence of being a skater and the simplicity of what it is about.

For more info go to Drew Millers site here:

Saturday, September 27, 2014


In 2002, after the Philadelphia 76ers exited the playoffs in the first round.  Point guard Allen Iverson went-off on the press reacting to coach Larry Brown's comments about his 'practice habits'.  Now some 12 years later director Fantavious Fritz and his team have taken, arguably one of the most famous press conferences in NBA history, and turned it into an attention getting short documentary with a strong message.  Shot on 35mm film in Brooklyn, New York.  The team have mixed game footage of some of the greatest players in NBA History (Michael Jordan, Julius Erving, and Bill Russell to name a few) with the real world of young player/dreamer Jeremiah as he pass through the city to a court with his basketball in hand.  Possessing the dream of every kid's hope to make it to the NBA someday and the echo of the players who have made it, rolling in his head.  PRACTICE! is a look into how big a voice a player can have and how little it really matters.

Add your comments and thoughts below (Iverson 'Practice' Press Conference):

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Making Fire: A Story of Survival with Marco Priori

'Making Fire' is a mini doc that I shot in Italy on my iPhone 4s while I was visiting my friend Marco Priori in the mountainous region of Leonessa, Italy.  The area is a beautiful rolling landscape of white rocky peeks resting on the back of the Apennini Mountain range.  Marco and his wife Alice moved to the small village of Capo d' Acqua at the end of a lonely mountain road just one year ago.  They went in search of a home to grow their vision of opening a survival school called, Red Fox Survival.  It's a school that aims to reach out to beginners and the most advance students of survival and give them a unique place to call home.

The 2-hour passage from Rome, Italy runs up the back bone of the Apennini through small villages and twisting mountain passes to arrive at the beautiful escape of 5 little Italian style homes.  Greeted by the warm welcome of my friend Marco, his wife Alice, and their son Nemo.  I immediately felt at home.  Over the next three days I enjoyed the peace of isolation, the tranquility of the surrounding mountains, and learned about the vision of Marco's survival school.

A world traveled student of nature with a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering.  Marco has spent years involving himself in the community of survival and exploration.  With a history of experience and certifications through the Italian Federation of Experimental Survival (F.I.S.S.S.) and Italian Alpine Club (I.A.C.), he had much to to share with me about the program.  Walking into town up the mile long dirt path from the village below.  Transportation and technology are the first things to go for the students.  From there they spend the majority of their time learning more awareness of nature, the skill of building a fire by hand, and depending on their level they study anything from tracking animals to creating a sustainable natural living habitat in the out-back of the surrounding mountains.  By the time I needed to head home I felt very in touch with my surroundings, and I was excited about the future of his growing program and the rare location it was in.  I had only wished I could be able to have stayed longer (or even live there myself).

During our time together we enjoyed the pleasure of picking wild strawberries on the mountain side.  We experienced the fun of nights full of great Italian food and company.  And we even had the opportunity learn about Red Fox's sponsorship of the first summit of an untouched peek above 18,000 feet in the Himalayas called, Karakorum.  It was truly amazing!

And so in the last hours of day light on my final evening with Marco's family.  We took some time out to make a fire and film his well developed skill of doing it by hand.  Amazingly enough the footage was all shot on my iPhone 4s and it came out great!  It was a fitting finally to a great trip.

*If you are ever in Italy be sure to connect with Red Fox Survival ( and spend a weekend of amazing time and survival!



Sunday, August 10, 2014


If you think you know all you need to know about former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, I assure you that you don't (and probably never will).  But if you want to try a good place to start would be by watching the one-sided bio-documentary called, The Unknown Known.  It's well produced, intriguing, and fun to watch.  However approach with caution, so not to find yourself caught in Rumsfeld's friendly innocent old man appeal and front porch rocking "darned if I know" comments.  Make no mistake about it he's complex, his actions are premeditated, and he's smart enough to know the unknown between us and the other side of the screen.

From the start Rumsfeld seems to be on trial.  He opens questioning the read and giving an involuntary sense to the line from a personal memo he's about to share.  "You want me to read this", he asks with the fane of obligation on his face.  He goes on, "All generalizations are false, including this one" then squints and smiles.  It's the line that starts the movie and sets the tone of the film.  It's also the line that Rumsfeld clearly knows offers validation for every good and bad decision he has made in his career and offers atonement for all the rights and wrongs that he's about to share.

Criticisms of Rumsfeld aside, I think the film is great.  The editing is superb, the graphics engaging, and Rumsfeld's stories are as interesting as he is.  Unfolding his long history in public service.  I felt in awe of his bold moves in the Ford administration and his youthful collaboration with Dick Cheney.   Moves that in part lead  to the controversial changes in that administration known as the Halloween Massacre.   At times in his story I felt like I was watching a real life episode of House of Cards with Kevin Spacey, which both scared me and left me looking deeper into who this man really was.  And as time went along I began to understand better the man, his decisions on 9/11, the War on Terror, military torture, and ultimately his resignation in 2006.

In the end, I remain critical of Rumsfeld as a leader in our history.  I found myself muxed-up by his logic of the 'knowns' and the 'unknowns'.  And I was not long seduced by the archive of his personal memos and his friendly smile.  In truth, I think he is confused himself by his own logic.  It seems twisted enough to help him make sense of his role in our history and the unsettling events that took place under his leadership.

Spoiler Alert: In the films close the director Errol Morris decides to finish it like he started it.   He again puts Rumsfeld on the stand by asking audibly behind camera, "Why are you doing this"?  Rumsfeld responds, "I'll be darned if I know".  And I'll be darned if he doesn't.




Saturday, July 19, 2014


Inequality for All is one of the best breakdowns of how income effects economics that I have seen to date.  Giving data through graphs and visuals in edible amounts.  Robert Reich (best selling author, Berkeley professor, and prior cabinet member of the Clinton administration) and director Jacob Kornbluth have cracked the code on what's going wrong with the economy and are offering answers on how to fix it, that few are talking about.  

Starting with a short man taking on a BIG world. The film walks us over the bridge of the current rise and decline U.S. economics dating back to the 1920's.  Taking us step-by-step from the Great Depression till now.  It breaks down just where the middle class begins and ends, and where the 1% go from there.  However unlike a Michael Moore type propaganda rally, this film doesn't ignite the poor against the rich.  Instead it offers clear facts on how both would benefit from learning a little about how the economy really works.

From beginning to end, the film moves fluidly.  It dances from life experience stories to applicable facts in a fashion that helps make sense of all the non-sense.  Carrying much of the feel of the Errol Morris film The Fog of War.  The films central character seems real enough to touch and smart enough to walk on water.  From beginning to end I found myself both, falling in love with the story teller and scared of the realities of his story.


Saturday, March 29, 2014


What is The High?  And what makes it 'the toughest race on earth'?

Director Barry Walton picked up the race, ran in the Himalayas of Northern India four years ago now.  At the time the race was at the brink of its origin and before Barry could prepare a crew to shoot its maiden run the gun had fired and the runners were off to near death experiences for each.  Now four years later Barry has pieced together the telling of each individual runners story and is working to premiere the release of the project at Telluride Film Festival in Colorado or a festival of it's stature.  If you are interested in learning more about the project watch the trailer and read the film synopsis below.  Then learn about the runners and find further information on the project at: 


In 2010, a group of extreme runners brought together by an adventure-obsessed race director mutually volunteer in a running experiment over the two highest passes in the world.  Joined by a wily war journalist from the Christian Science Monitor.  The five find themselves in a mix of uncontrollable mistakes that would leave not only the race in jeopardy, but also their vary lives.   

The story opens with Rajat Chauhan and the telling of a whimsical weekend run in high altitude that gave birth to the experiment.  A doctor out of New Delhi, Rajat's failed dreams to be a professional runner in youth have driven his vision for this a new outlet.  An outlet that would begin teetering between determination and obsession by it's end.  

Connecting through Facebook and emails to running groups around the world.  Rajat finds twenty-seven interested candidates, but would only end up with three at the start.  The first Molly Sheridan, an experience ultra marathon runner from the USA join the team from the word go and worked to convince her companion and running partner Bill Andrews to ride along.  Soon the two set off to India with excitement and plans of ceremonious events.  The third and final member Mark Cockbain joined from the UK and brought a history of completing many the hardest races in the sport.  Upon arrival the three set out on a journey full of treacherous challenges and life changing events.  

Joining the race on day 2 is the lone journalist for the event Ben Arnoldy.  While living in New Delhi, Ben had been covering the war in Afghanistan for the Christian Science Monitor.  Looking for a break from the tragedies of war, he excitedly went in hopes to cover the story of humans accomplishing new feats.  However upon his arrival he discovered a race experiment gone wrong.  Working to unfold the events of the race he discovers wedding ceremonies at 18,000 feet, runners down from dehydration and hospital visits that rang with fatality.  Spending his time on the course collecting the fragments of Rajat's collapsing dream.  He talks in detail of his experience and insights until he himself would come up lost and missing from the course while searching for its end.

With the race, the vision, the dream, and even the obsession hanging the balance.  One questions remains to be answered, will there be a finisher or will this race finish them all?  In the answer rest what would happen to the last man on the course and the reason that it's called, the toughest race on earth.   

Follow us for the release of the premiere: 

Monday, January 13, 2014


It's been a while since I have written and it hasn't been for a lack of viewing good documentaries nor new ones at that.  The delay in writing may probably more be associated with the amount of time that has passed since I have seen a documentary that stands out to me enough to write about.  But today I have in fact found one.

Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows was made in 1995 during a big boom in the sport of pro-wrestling.  It was and age where Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock were born.  And an era where the reality of the sport was no more in question as the enjoyment of it. During this period Bret Hart's was also on the front pages of wrestling, but not for his fame, fortune, or well earned respect.  Instead he was on it for a Vince McMahon deal gone bad, and he left with a documentary that uncover it all.

An ideal hero, Bret Hart buys into the idea of doing the right thing.  Both in his personal life and as a WWE character.  Vince McMahon on the other hand is a villain and the line between his personal life and character is in question.  The two's path cross dating back to the origin of the WWE and collide on the verge of it's collapse.

Bret not being able to separate his real life character to the fictional one.  Looses focus on the difference and falls pry to the evils of wrestling entertainment.  McMahon however doesn't seem to know any difference.  And fails to give honor a departing hero in his last days.

Showing a unique glimpse into the reality of this sport.  The film solidifies these two characters both in the world or pro-wrestling and in life.  And in the end touch on just how real these human like characters of wrestling really are.