After three-plus years of production, with director Jerome Thelia and crew shooting all over the world and pulling countless all-nighters in the editing room, I’m thrilled to say that our documentary, BOUNCE: How the Ball Taught the World to Play, will have its world premiere next month at SXSW! I can still remember the day in the late summer of 2011 when Jerome and David McLain, old friends and travel companions from my days with the Quest expeditions, approached me about optioning the book and partnering to turn it into a documentary film.
Since then, it’s been a wild but thrilling ride, with shoots all over Europe, Brazil, The Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Mexico and across the US. Producers Anne Carkeet, Philip Mershon, and Andrew Napier, editor Greg Wright, and a host of other talented filmmakers contributed blood, sweat and tears to create something profoundly special. The film is, as expected, a different animal than the book. Unlike the book, the film has multiple authors, though it reflects Jerome’s vision in particular. He became as obsessed with the ball as I ever was, consumed many of the books and essays I read, burrowed with equal fervor into the deep well of play. Where the book leans more toward the historical, the film probes deeper into the philosophical and scientific dimensions of play. While I did my best with words to convey the universal energy and joy unleashed by the ball across cultures and time, the film captures it in moving, cinematic splendor. I couldn’t be more pleased with and proud of what Jerome and the rest of the team have created.
From SXSW, we hope to show the film at other festivals around the world, and from there blast it out into the world, where it belongs. To follow the bouncing ball…be sure to like BOUNCE’s Facebook page!