Festival director Pat Battistini talks festival and the classic sport theme films we love
What sets your All Sports festival apart from other festivals?
What makes our festival different form 99.9% of the other film festivals is that we celebrate films solely about sports and competition. Some of our films may have a sports theme or plot to them in dealing with a physical competition, others may be about a cerebral competition with zero athleticism involved. Either way, you don’t have to be a huge sports fan to love our movies. The majority of our films are about the human spirit – the lengths people will go to to succeed or survive in life no matter what the size of the prize may be.
Do you have a favorite film that has showcased at your Festival?
Every year I have a new favorite. Just like any film fan, I’m always changing my mind when I see the next film. So I really can’t pinpoint one and say that I like it more than any other. Even though they all fall under the same genre, the films are all so different.
Is there something in particular that you look for in submissions? Or are there multiple factors?
The thing I look for (besides the obvious – shot well, edited well, and good sound) is something unique. For example, since the invention of the GoPro, we are now able to see so much more action up close and personal. But just like any new fad, the market gets saturated with just “clips”. So what matters now is what kind of story line the filmmaker can string together to keep me fixated with their film. Filmmakers need to watch films as much as they make them. They can see what is out there and what really stands out.
What is your goal for your festival?
Our long term goal is to go hand in hand with the ESPYs. We would love nothing more than to hold our festival the week leading into the big event.
Do you have an interesting story that has taken place during a past festival?
During our most recent award ceremony, we had a film from Japan win for Best Feature Film. The director had to return to Japan but one of the actors in the film stayed. Upon accepting the award, he came up on stage wearing his wardrobe (a baseball uniform) from the movie. His happiness and energy was so contagious that the whole audience just fell in love with him. As we gave him the award (we give a championship boxing belt type award for our big winners) he proceeded to have us put the belt on him and then he began to pose in it. It was a great moment for all to share his joy. In his acceptance speech (he didn’t speak English), the only thing he told the audience was his name and then he went on to have the audience repeat it until we were all able to pronounce it correctly. Lots of fun.
Where do you see or would like to see your Festival in 5 years?
Since we will be 10 years old by then, I’d like to see our festival in the same position I mentioned in the other question. Our long term goal is to go hand in hand with the ESPYs. We would love nothing more than to hold our festival the week leading into the big event.
How is your festival received locally and nationally?
Ironically, the festival has a much bigger reputation outside of Los Angeles. There are 70 plus film festivals in LA alone so having a festival here really isn’t a big surprise. However, go outside of the area and people want to be a part of the festival. In our first 5 years of screening films, we have had 31 countries represented. We have filmmakers from Russia, Hungary, Australia, Italy, Holland, Khazakhstan, India to mention a few, grace us with their presence plus many from the US and Canada.
Finally, we all want to know what is your favorite sports film of all time?
This is a real tough answer. How about I break it down:
Best Tear Jerker: Brian’s Song (1971)
Best Ending (Even though you know it’s coming) and Best Pep Talk: Miracle
Best Moment in a Movie (TIE): Rudy (When he gets in to ND) and Cinderella Man (when Joe Gould gives Jim Braddock another shot)
Best Comedy: Caddyshack
Best Soundtrack: Hoosiers
Best Acting: Dennis Hopper/Hoosiers
Best Sleeper: Breaking Away
Best Family Film: The Sandlot
Best On-Screen Chemistry: Kevin Costner/James Earl Jones – Field of Dreams
Best Overlooked Performance in a Film: Harrison Ford – 42
I could go on but I’ll stop there.
All Sports Los Angeles Film Festival
November 7 - 9, 2014