Signs of the Time

The Myth, The Mystery, The Legend of Baseball's Greatest Innovation

Posts Tagged ‘film

Signs of the Time To Be Broadcast Around The Country

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Signs of the Time makes its North American broadcast premiere starting this spring on public television stations across the country. Produced in high-definition by Crystal Pix, Inc. of Fairport, New York, the film has enjoyed critical acclaim at film festivals across North America and has received “Best Documentary” awards five times. Signs of the Time is presented by WXXI Public Broadcasting in Rochester, New York, and distributed nationally by American Public Television.

Narrated by Academy Award® winning actor Richard Dreyfuss, Signs of the Time, reveals the myth and mystery behind one of the greatest innovations of baseball – umpire hand signals.

The film illustrates stories of inspiration that transcend sports. At the heart of the story are two fascinating characters from baseball’s past – the 19th century deaf ballplayer William “Dummy” Hoy and the father of modern umpires, Bill Klem. The film offers dramatic re-enactments of early baseball and interviews from baseball legends such as Bob Feller, Brooks Robinson, Fred Lynn, and Earl Weaver. It also provides a compelling look into the silent and often misunderstood world of the deaf community. Legendary deaf author Robert Panara commented, “The film’s message of breaking the barriers of communication is what we Deaf people have done throughout life, and the struggle is never-ending. This film, much like its central character Dummy Hoy, is an inspiration to deaf and hearing people alike.”

The television broadcast of the film is closed captioned for the accessibility of all audiences. To find where to watch in your area, contact your local public broadcasting station or click here for more information

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Written by Signs of the Time

February 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Award winner in Cooperstown

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Don Casper at the Hall of Fame Exhibit for the History of Baseball and Movies

Don Casper at the Hall of Fame Exhibit for the History of Baseball and Movies

For the 4th year in a row, the Baseball Film Festival has presented newly-released films of any genre with a baseball component.  Stephen Light, the festival organizer, mentioned during his opening remarks that they had more submissions this year than ever and had tough choices to narrow the field down to the 13 films shown over 3 days in Cooperstown at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.  Signs of the Time was accepted as an official selection amongst other feature documentaries and shorts.

The opening night program consisted of a great film called “The Lost Son of Havana” which follows Luis Tiant’s life and career in baseball and as he returns to Cuba for the first time in 46 years.  Executive Producer Bobby Farrelly and Producer Kris Meyer were there to present and give a Q&A.

Our film played right after to a packed house starting around 8:15pm, including a father and son who told us they traveled from Maine to see the film because they knew Bill Werber and had visited with him before he passed away this past spring.  We also had a deaf gentleman from Brockport who came down to see the film for the first time!

Future Hall of Famer Jim Hughes found in Cooperstown!

Future Hall of Famer Jim Hughes found in Cooperstown!

The rest of the weekend was a mix of watching baseball films, meeting filmmakers from around the country, sharing stories and going in all the shops on Main Street.  If you’ve never been to Cooperstown, the fall is a real pretty time to go and the crowds are not huge so it’s easy to get around and see lots of stuff.

A couple noteworthy films that we saw are:

We Believe – a feature documentary about the century long love affair between the city of Chicago and the Cubs.  Although they haven’t won a World Series in over a hundred years, it stills remains one of the most devout fan bases and nicest ballparks in the major leagues.  Director/Writer John Scheinfeld was on hand to present the film.

A Shortstop in China – follows Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. as he embarks on a 10-day tour of China for the State Department as an official representative of the United States and baseball.  The film was produced by Renegade Productions out of Baltimore.  It’s a very well put together film with alot of great moments.

Ghost Player – reveals the 18 year journey of a group of ballplayers that entertain crowds in Dyersville Iowa where they filmed the movie Field of Dreams.  This group that started as just something fun to do on a Sunday ended up touring throughout Europe and Japan and changing lives.  Filmmaker Joe Schermann presented the film.

Jim Hughes and Don Casper with Award outside the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown

Jim Hughes and Don Casper with Award outside the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown

The Festival culminated with the Awards Ceremony Sunday at 3pm.  Although we were hopeful, being up against the many worthy films we had seen made no guarantee to win something.  However… the film and baseball gods were smiling on us that weekend as we were selected for the 2009 Award for Baseball Excellence.  The Award for Baseball Excellence is given to the film that excels in one or all of the following categories: research, historical context, appreciation of the game, and the embodiment of the spirit of baseball.

2009 Award for Baseball Excellence

2009 Award for Baseball Excellence

Thanks to all the judges and audience that supported our film and to all the other filmmakers who participated.  It is real special to be part of a festival with such passion and achievement within the same genre.

It was extra special for me because my Wife, Mom Dad, Brother, and In-laws were all there to share it with us.

Written by Don Casper

October 5, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Hall of Fame’s Baseball Film Festival a hit

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Troika of movies take home hardware in event’s fourth year

By Bill Francis / National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Published: 10/05/2009 2:10 PM ET

Baseball Film Festival concluded Sunday in Cooperstown at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. (Bill Francis/Baseball Hall of Fame)

Baseball Film Festival concluded Sunday in Cooperstown at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. (Bill Francis/Baseball Hall of Fame)

As big league baseball’s regular season came to a conclusion, except in the American League’s Central Division, the Fourth Annual Baseball Film Festival was ending another successful run.

The three-day long event, held at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, ran from Friday through Sunday. In all, 13 films of varied baseball subject matter, ranging in length from 12 to 90 minutes, were shown at the Hall’s Bullpen Theater.

The festivities came to an end Sunday afternoon with three awards handed out at a closing ceremony in the Museum’s Grandstand Theater. Capturing the Best Film Award was The Lost Son of Havana, the Award for Baseball Excellence went to Signs of the Time, and El Play captured the Award for Film Making Excellence.

Reached by telephone after the awards were presented, an overjoyed Kris Meyer, a producer of The Lost Son of Havana who represented the film in Cooperstown along with Executive Producer Bobby Farrelly when it was shown Friday, said, “It has been an incredible honor to make a film about one of baseball’s legends, and to screen it in Cooperstown at the Baseball Film Festival and to win it is just icing on the cake.

“Hopefully, we’ll return with another film soon.” The Lost Son of Havana documented former Major League pitching star Luis Tiant’s emotional return to his home in Cuba after 46 years in exile, and Signs of the Time examined the complicated history of hand signals in baseball. “Just blown away,” said Signs of the Time Director Don Casper when asked for his thoughts afterwards. “To receive an award for baseball excellence from Cooperstown is a real honor, especially when you make a baseball film. Being here for three days, seeing the quality of films that we were up against, it makes it even more special because there were really a lot of great quality films here.”

El Play told the story of an aspiring Dominican ballplayer from the baseball hotbed of San Pedro de Macoris and his struggles as he chases his dream of becoming a professional.

“This is thrilling,” said El Play‘s director and producer, Pablo Medina, while clutching his award. “Just having gotten into this film festival is an honor as much as winning. I was not expecting it, and I’m not being modest.”

Judging this year’s Baseball Film Festival entrants were Jeff Katz, a baseball author/writer living in Cooperstown, Oneonta (N.Y.) Daily Star sportswriter P.J. Harmer, and Rob Edelman, a professor of film history at the University of Albany and the author of The Great Baseball Films. “I enjoy all of the films,” Katz said. “There was just a wide variety of subject matter. And even the films that weren’t award winners you could tell there was a real passion behind it.

“But I will say that I’m just endlessly impressed with The Lost Son of Havana. That really was one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen, let alone a great baseball film. It was so well done and so emotional.” According to Stephen Light, the Hall’s manager of museum programs, the more than 20 films submitted and 13 shown were records for the four-year-old festival.

“I thought it was a great film festival because of the strength and diversity of the films,” Light said. “We had so many different topics and it just showed, I think, the strength of baseball as a film topic.”

Bill Francis is a library associate for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Written by Signs of the Time

October 5, 2009 at 3:10 pm