Thursday, July 23, 2009

"Reel Hardball" Movies Coming to a Ball Park Near You

Terence Mann: Brett and PJ, people will come.

They'll come to the ball park turned movie theatre for reasons they can't even fathom.

They'll turn into the parking lot not knowing for sure why they're doing it.

They'll arrive at their seats as innocent as children, longing for the past.

Of course, you two won't mind if they look around, as they wait for the opening credits to roll.

It's only $10 per person. They'll pass over the money to the ballpark movie theatre usher without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and Baseball Movies that they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect moonlit night.

And they'll watch movies...Baseball movies Brett and PJ...Baseball Movies.

They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the Baseball Movies and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters.

They'll sit with their kids and they'll eat popcorn and Cracker Jacks, PJ and Brett and memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces.

People will come Brett and PJ. They will come.

The one constant through all the years, Brett and PJ, has been baseball and the outdoor movie theatre. Combine the two and you have an irresistible combination that fans will not be able to resist.

Fans of baseball. Fans of the movies. Especially baseball movies, Fans of family, and friends, and America. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again.

But baseball movies have marked the time. This ball park turned movie theatre: it's a part of our past, Brett and PJ. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again.

Oh...people will come Brett and PJ. People will most definitely come.

Though the famous dialogue above may sound vaguely reminiscent to a scene from baseball movie lore, the expertly trained ear may notice the differences.

The ball park is not in the middle of an Iowa cornfield, but in a local minor league ballpark in your own back yard.

There will be no baseball played on the field today and certainly no ghosts of baseball past coming from the vegetable garden.

But, if filmmakers Brett Rapkin and P.J. Moynihan see their "dream" come to fruition, the fans will come...The fans will most definitely come.

Rapkin and Moynihan will be presenting the first in a series of independent baseball film festivals, tonight at historic Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, MA. Tonight's baseball double feature under the stars will feature Rapkin's films, “Holyland Hardball,” and “Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey”.

“Holyland Hardball,” is the story of Israel's first professional baseball league, created by Boston bagel maker Larry Baras, and his quest to bring baseball to the Middle East. “Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey,” is the documentary that follows famed Red Sox pitcher and resident Spaceman, Bill Lee, on his adventures to Cuba.

Both are award winning films, which were produced by Rapkin.

The two film makers, see tonight's event as a coming attraction of sorts, for a series of baseball movies they are packaging under the name “Reel Hardball”.

"Reel Hardball" is a collection of independent baseball films that the duo expects to launch on network cable in December, 2009. They hope to announce who their broadcast partners will be in the near future and see these ball park movie events as a precursor to the "Big Game".

"We envision Reel Hardball becoming a series very much like Turner Classic Movies. A package of Independent Baseball films that fans look forward to watching each week," explains Moynihan, who earned his degree in Film Making from Columbia University in 2002. He started Digital Eyes Films in 2003, a company he currently owns and operates

"We'd love to see this develop into a very strong brand through the distribution channels we've identified such as ball park screenings, network broadcasting and a strong online presence.

"We see the ball park screenings as a way to put the films in front of baseball fans and a way to educate the public about these wonderful independent baseball films."

At the same time Moynihan and Rapkin will have the opportunity to see the crowds reaction as they view these films with center-field as their back drop.

Moynihan was the creator of a ten-part baseball film series entitled “Eye on the Dream,” which chronicled the lives of the Keene Swamp Bats as the players followed their dreams to become professional baseball players.

Moynihan was also the general manager of Holyoke Giants, a team in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. The Giants have since relocated to Lynn, MA and play as the North Shore Navigators.

The two film makers were actually brought together by Executive Producer Philip Rosenfield, who was the owner of the Holyoke Giants at the time and worked with Moynihan on the "Eye On the Dream Series". Rosenfield is the current owner of the Navigators in Lynn.

The “Reel Hardball” double-feature night begins at 8 p.m. tonight at Wahconah Park in Pittsfield. Tickets will be sold at the gate and cost $10.

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