“The Rugby Player” at LGBT Film Festival – New Fest
New Fest, New York’s premiere LGBT Film Festival, now in its 25th year, will run from September 6 – 11. The festival will include 15 narrative films, four documentaries and 31 shorts in addition to various special events. For the second time in its history, New Fest will be run in partnership with the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Many of the screenings and panel discussions will take place at the Film Society’s Walter Reade Theatre, one of the city’s best movie theatres, in my opinion. Screenings will also take place at the JCC at 334 Amsterdam Avenue.
As of press time I was able to screen “The Rugby Player,” a moving and life affirming documentary about Mark Bingham, a passenger on United 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11. Director Scott Gracheff has taken what, in lesser hands, might have been mundane material and has turned it into a compelling story. What I mean is that Mark Bingham was just a regular person and yet Gracheff makes his story quite compelling.
“The Rugby Player” uses Mark Bingham’s personal home video footage inter-cut with interviews of his friends and family to create a portrait of a man who grabbed life with both hands and stood up for others. Mark was also a skilled rugby player, a brutal sport (think football without the pads and helmets). Mark was tough guy who, growing up, had his share of runs ins with the police and ambulance rides. “Don’t tell my Mom,” was his familiar refrain as he was being taken away for one reason or another.
That Mom is Alice Hoagland. Alice’s strength, charisma and charm anchors “The Rugby Player.” Alice speaks of her son with great humor and love. She recalls her last phone conversation with Mark when he called her from United 93 to say goodbye. She called him back, leaving a message that he should try to take control of the plane. Undoubtedly Mark was among the group of passengers who fought the terrorists that day.
Alice was a flight attendant for United Airlines. She expresses her criticism of the lax security measures of United Airlines. Alice’s resolve to create a positive legacy for her son is shown by her unwavering support for a league of rugby players, who, like Mark, are gay.
“The Rugby Player” takes a national tragedy and very effectively expresses it by telling one man’s story combined with the resolve of those who knew him to carry on and honor his life.
“The Rugby Player” will be shown at New Fest on September 11.
For more information and tickets visit www.newfest.org
Posted on September 6, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged Alice Hoagland, Film Society of Lincoln Center, gay rugby, JCC, LGBT Film Festival, Mark Bingham, New Fest, The Rugby Player, United 93, United Airlines. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.