||C6 H0: Film about golden era of Centre football premieres tonight
RELEASED: April 30, 2009
DANVILLE, KY—Film producer, director and Centre College alum Tom Thurman '84 will debut his film "The Wonder Team" on Thursday, April 30 at 7 p.m. in Vahlkamp Theater in Crounse Hall. The premiere will kick off with a reception at 6:30 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public. A Q&A will follow the showing of the film.
"The Wonder Team" film is based on the recently published book of the same name by Robert Robertson '63, which explores Centre's golden age of football, particularly its 1921 6-0 victory over Harvard. Robertson, a retired physician from Paducah, Ky., wrote the 600-page history, complete with several hundred photos from his vast collection of Colonels football memorabilia. (Click here for an alumni magazine article about Robertson's book.)
"Everyone's a sucker for a good David vs. Goliath story, and I'm no exception," Thurman says. "But I'm even a bigger fan of irony. After interviewing people for this documentary, I discovered that many strongly believe Centre was simply better than Harvard that October afternoon in 1921. This game wasn't a fluke or even that big of a shock to some."
Even more importantly, he continues, Centre may have been the best football program in the country over a number of years. The 1921 team went on to be undefeated in regular-season play, trouncing many of the nation's powerhouses.
"So yes, this is a kind of a David vs. Goliath story, but after making the film I'm now slightly unclear as to who was actually the giant in this instance," Thurman says. " In making a documentary, you hope to create something that educates as well as entertains, but you also learn a lot along the way. And if you keep your eyes open, the process ends up challenging the assumptions you held prior to beginning the production. That's what happened here."
Thurman's film is scheduled to premiere late this summer or early this fall on Kentucky Educational Television to coincide with the arrival of football season.
Thurman's films have received a number of national and international honors. His first independent documentary, on actor Warren Oates, was described in The Film Journal as "one of the finest documentaries ever made about an actor" and received the Best Documentary Prize at the 1992 New Orleans Film Festival.
Movies of Color: Black Southern Cinema, a documentary about independent African-American cinema, has been described as "essential viewing" and a "roadmap for the African-American community" by critic Armond White. It received a regional Emmy Award in 2001.
Thurman's documentary on renegade filmmaker Sam Peckinpah was honored as outstanding documentary of 2004 by the Western Heritage Museum and was subsequently released on DVD by Warner Brothers.
Born in Christiansburg, Kentucky, Thurman has been producing and directing documentaries for 15 years. His films explore 20th century American art and culture, focusing upon music, literature and especially film history.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
For news archives go to http://www.centre.edu/web/news/newsarchive.html.
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