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by Angelina Fernandez
November 4th, 2013

I was very privileged to be one of the first people to watch MEDORA, a new documentary feature by filmmakers Davy Rothbart and Andrew Cohen, and produced by Steve Buscemi.  Rooftop Films will present a special preview screening sponsored by Piper Heidsieck on November 6th at Angel Orensanz Foundation before the film hits theaters this Friday, November 8th.

The film chronicles the story of a small town basketball team, the Medora Hornets, throughout their varsity season in 2011. We get to meet each of these players and learn their stories. It’s a deeply personal look into the life of kids who have the odds stacked against them by default. They didn’t create the recession; they were simply born where they were born. In the same way, the once bustling town of Medora is a victim of circumstance.

We’ve all driven by these towns on our way to somewhere. The strange collection of houses on the side of the interstate, and as you drive past you sit there thinking to yourself, “Who even lives here?” Well, the people of Medora live here. The town is in a state of decline. After two of its largest factories shut down, most people lost their jobs and the town is now comprised of around 500 people. When asked to describe the town to outsiders, one of its residents simply said, “Closed.”

What MEDORA does a good job of reminding you of is that this town isn’t a bunch of images in an Urban Decay photo book, there are real people living here who are struggling to survive. This was the kind of town that once made up America, and even as they are steadily becoming extinct, they’ve still got a lot of spirit. The boys that are part of the basketball team each have their own problems to deal with, from alcoholism to homelessness. It’s hard to keep their heads above water when the world seems to offer them so little, and when they’ve seen so little of the world. Leaving the town seems to be one of the primary options for a better life, but Medora is their home. It’s a place that will markedly miss their presence if they leave; going out into the world means leaving behind their roots and even hurrying the destruction of the town they were born in.

MEDORA will be screening at the Angel Orensanz Foundation on November 6th. The event will include a Q&A with the film makers and its Executive Producer Steve Buscemi as well as live music by LAPLAND.

The film opens in select cities on Friday, November 8th, including:

Village East Cinema, 181-189 2nd Ave, New York, NY
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8th at 7PM
Special NYC Premiere followed by Q&A with Directors Davy Rothbart & Andrew Cohn, Producer Rachel Dengiz, and subjects from the film!

Laemmle Playhouse 7, 11523 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA

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About Rooftop Films

Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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