Thanks to one of the filmmakers, Ranko Tutulugdzija, I was able to sit down and watch a rough draft version of Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story this past weekend. I linked to the trailer a couple weeks ago, but Ranko (a former college teammate of Jay DeMerit’s), Zachary Salsman and Nick Lewis have created a documentary on Jay DeMerit’s career path.
For those few people out of the loop on DeMerit’s career path, he basically took the instruction manual on how to become a captain for an English Premier League club for American players from Wisconsin, threw it out and somehow ended up at the end despite skipping a couple steps, having a few extras screws leftover and using some duct tape.
While there has been an influx of sports documentaries as of late (as a fan of documentaries, thank you ESPN for your 30 For 30 series), there are only a few good soccer ones. And no, I am not talking about Victory.
The movie I watched was not a finished product (it was missing some interviews and some game footage), but was still fun and interesting to a person that already knew most of DeMerit’s story, plus I learned a few things along the way.
One of the best qualities about the film was the access that the guys had to Jay and other influential people in his life. There is commentary from Jay, his parents, his high school/college coaches, friends, his “family” over in England, his managers at his various “pub” teams, his managers at Watford, Bob Bradley and a few USMNT teammates just to name a few people.
I hate when you watch a documentary where they have tons of interviews, yet are missing a key person from the story. With the recent ESPN Fab Five doc, I know he had his reasons why, but that film was missing something without commentary from Chris Webber. It just didn’t seem right not to hear from him. But you won’t have this problem with Rise and Shine.
There are also tons of pictures and other videos of Jay playing throughout his career, including some personal videos from the 2010 World Cup. It is fun to see some of the behind the scenes stuff like the USMNT celebrating in the locker room after the win over Algeria.
At the end of the day, we (Americans) love us a good story about how hard work and sweat can get you far in life if you keep at it and these guys did a good job of capturing this story and putting it on film. This movie should appeal to all kinds of people, including non-soccer fans, and I can’t wait to see the final product.
I know I am not great with words or expressing my thoughts clearly (anyone who reads this site on a regular basis is already shaking their head up and down), but here is a good story on the film from The Guardian.
I know when I posted the trailer a couple weeks ago, the guys were lacking the licensing rights (if I remember correctly, FIFA charges a lot of loot even if you only show game footage for like 10 seconds) to take it to theatre or DVD. So for now, you will only find this film in festival showings (I think they recently had a showing in Vancouver). But if you can help out or know anyone that could possibly help these guys expand this documentary to a final product that could be shown in theatres across the US, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be cool to see this come out to the masses somehow.
For those that missed the trailer the first time, here you go: