A Winning Proposition

The Medora Hornets are not the kind of state-championship contenders that moviemakers tend to chronicle. In Medora, a documentary by Davy Rothbart and Andrew Cohn, every time these charming serial losers hit the basketball court, the audience faces the nail-biting question: Can’t they win just this once? But it’s the struggle in the players’ lives, not on the courts, that makes Medora the most compelling sports documentary since Hoop Dreams. Growing up in a 500-person “meth-head town” in Indiana, these young men are hardly set up for success. “You’d think these kids would have gloomy lives, but they’re not like that at all,” Rothbart says. “They’re upbeat teenagers taking it as it comes.”

As the editor of FOUND Magazine and a contributor to This American Life, Rothbart is no stranger to telling other people’s stories. But what surprised him about shooting Medora was just how open the community was to the documentary crew’s presence. And he found himself falling in love with his subjects, he says: “We were totally enthralled with this town and the story and these kids and this team.”

Rothbart will present a free screening of Medora in person at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue, tonight at 7 p.m.; a Q&A period follows the film. For more information, go to denverfilm.org or call 720-381-0813.
Tue., April 15, 7 p.m., 2014

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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris