Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
by Ted Hardy
The Oakland Warthog rugby program have become one of the feel-good rugby stories of the past 5-6 years. Started in one of the toughest areas of the country, the Warthogs have exceeded expectations at every turn and have become not only successful on the rugby pitch, but successful in providing a positive outlet for high-risk youth.
If you’re not familiar with the Oakland Warthogs story, follow this link to a story on the Warthogs covered by Rugby America in January of 2011.
The Warthog story has been so well received, that it caught the eye of filmakers Serge Bakalian (Producer/Director), Rebekah Fergusson (Cinematographer), and Kevin Sullivan (Co-Producer). Bakalian and Fergusson have both been recognized with awards for their work on documentaries. Bakalian is the director of the Award-Winning documentary “Default” about the student loan crisis and Fergusson was given an Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Filmaking Award for her work on “Pelada”.
Sullivan is no stranger to the rugby community as he has been active in the sport as a player and coach for over 35 years. Sullivan also runs Rucking Insurance and was the founder of the TRY Donation Program that has helped provide rugby jerseys and equipment to inner-city rugby teams.
“Way of the Warthogs” features the Oakland Warthogs Youth Rugby program, the challenges faced by its student athletes and the impact of rugby in America’s inner cities. The primary narrative of the documentary will follow the lives of several Warthog players at different stages, explore the challenges and realities of growing up in Oakland, and how the sport of rugby is changing their lives.
The team and project was recently awarded a 2013 Film Residency by the San Francisco Film Commission and the San Francisco Film Society. This innovative program, made possible by the generous support of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation with additional support from the San Francisco Film Commission, supports independent filmmaking by making office space available free of charge for six- or twelve-month residencies to independent filmmakers actively engaged in various stages of film production. In addition to office space, FilmHouse residents benefit from a robust guest speaker series, featuring lectures and presentations by leading industry professionals; resident-led workshops and work-in-progress screenings; access to the Film Society’s Professional Development classes; individual project consultation with SFFS Executive Director and acclaimed producer Ted Hope; and numerous other community-building programs and events. A major component of the Film Society’s Filmmaker360 program, FilmHouse functions as a vibrant workshop and creative hub for filmmakers of all stripes.
“The Film Residency is quite a big deal and it has accelerated my timetable for this film, and particularly in regards to fundraising,” stated Sullivan. “We need to raise $18,000 for the first phase of production and looking to friends and the rugby community to help us reach this goal.”
To that end, Sullivan and his fellow filmakers have launched a 30 X 300 campaign to help raise funds for the documentary. They have set a goal of raising $9000 by the end of the year. The project is fiscally sponsored by Bay Area Youth Rugby and all contributions are tax deductible. As of this morning, the project has raised just over $4200 towards their goal.
As an added bonus, 10% of all contributions to go directly to the Warthogs to help fund their program and continue to allow them to share the positive values and message of the game of rugby.
To donate to the project, learn more about the project, or watch the teaser trailer for the documentary, please follow the link.