Friday, February 28, 2014
Football players at Summerville High School Tuesday were treated to the premiere of a film starring themselves.
A group of athletes, coaches, faculty members and students gathered in the SHS auditorium to view a rough cut of the documentary on Coach John McKissick’s historic 600th win season.
Filmmakers Stephen C. Mitchell and Taylor Crothers followed the Green Wave football team throughout the entire 2012 season during which McKissick recorded his 600th coaching win, something no other football coach on any level has ever done.
Some companies have shown interest in the documentary, but Mitchell says he is still working on the project and wants to make sure he gets the film exactly the way he wants it before it is released to the public.
“Right now I don’t want to rush the film out,” Mitchell said. “I may sit on it for a few years, but I wanted the boys and everybody here to understand where we are with the project since we had cameras stuck in their faces for so long. We kind of wanted to show them we are putting something together. It’s like a little reward for them allowing us to be so intrusive.”
After the viewing, McKissick told Mitchell he liked the film.
Viewers get a glimpse into how McKissick interacts with and motivates athletes as well as how he interacts with fellow coaches, fans and football officials. The coach’s wife, Joan, serves as a narrator for much of the film, which largely follows a chronological path through the historic season.
The rough cut also includes footage of some of the things Green Wave football players do when they are away from the football field.
Mitchell is an independent filmmaker who lives in New York. One of the projects he is most known for is Talihina Sky, a film about the band Kings of Leon. He started that project as a documentary but eventually turned it into a feature-length film.
He is currently the executive producer for a film being made about a Mexican bullfighter and working on a 30 for 30 episode for ESPN.
Mitchell grew up playing football, was the captain of his high school team and even played a year of football at the University of Central Florida.
Upon completing Talihina Sky, he set out to do a sports documentary. After reading about McKissick and how the coach was only six wins shy of the 600 mark, he put the wheels in motion to come to Summerville.
“It was a very rewarding film to make,” he said. “I enjoyed coming down here and, having played high school football, it kind of brought back a lot of great feelings and memories. I think it is one of those stories that down the road is going to be something we need to look back on and remember.
“We went into this not knowing who might buy it, who might distribute it or what exactly would happen but we knew we wanted to get this moment in American football history documented.”