March 12, 2013
Contact: University Relations
The President's Cup, a new documentary film about an annual high school baseball tournament sponsored by the Office of Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young and directed by Julie Simon, associate professor in the University of Baltimore's School of Communications Design, will premiere at UB on Tuesday, April 2 at 6 p.m. The film follows the progress of the second annual tournament, which took place in 2012, and makes its public debut while this year's tournament is under way. Team members, their families and friends will be special guests at the premiere, which will take place in UB's Wright Theater, located in the UB Student Center, 21 W. Mt. Royal Ave. Council President Young also will be in attendance, along with UB Provost Joseph Wood and other officials. The event is free and open to the public.
Simon, a former network television producer and a longtime educator at UB, said the film explores the ways that the game of baseball can bring together boys of vastly different backgrounds—and how that "bit of magic" happens.
"I was interested in whether the premise of putting together these kids from very different backgrounds could work, on the baseball field and as a film," Simon said. "At first I was skeptical, especially knowing that high school students aren't always open to questions about what inspires them. But there's a bit of magic about baseball: Even though these players seem to have very little in common, the President's Cup tournament really brings out their mutual love of the game. In the end, they're all just kids playing ball. It was a highly satisfying experience for me as a filmmaker and an educator."
Simon, who served as director, producer and editor of The President's Cup, said the film's crew consisted of graduate students in her PBDS 639: Video Aesthetics & Techniques class, plus one undergraduate student who lent her time and talents to the project. These students created short versions of the segments they worked on, which were shown on the scoreboard screen during inning breaks of the April 21, 2012 President's Cup championship game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Local musician and composer David "David Zee" Zinzeleta, B.S. '88, wrote the music for the film. Jon Miller, the legendary O's broadcaster who covered the Orioles from 1982 through 1996, serves as the film's narrator.
Young said the film captures the competition, passion and unity that his tournament elicits from the public and private school athletes who compete.
"I love seeing the President's Cup games each spring because of the relationships these young athletes form and the learning they experience from playing against new opponents in new settings," Young said. "This documentary is a way to share that magic with the public and let them experience it for themselves."
Teams highlighted in the film come from more than a dozen public and private high schools in Baltimore and include the Archbishop Curley Friars, the Boys' Latin Lakers, the City College Knights, the Cristo Rey Hornets, the Digital Harbor RAMS, the Dunbar Poets, the Friends School Quakers, the Gilman Greyhounds, the Edmondson-Westside Red Storm, the MATHS Panthers, the Mervo Mustangs, the Mount St. Joseph Gaels, the Patterson Clippers, the Poly Engineers, the St. Frances Academy Panthers and the Southwestern Sabers.
"There have been so many movies made about baseball that I was challenged on how to make this one different," Simon added. "Watching these teenagers over the course of the spring made me believe that it's not about money or whose field is nicer—it's about hitting, pitching and fielding, and the moment when the ball crosses the plate."
Simon said that after the film is shown at UB, she plans to drum up interest in it via the independent film festival circuit.
Watch the trailer for The President's Cup.
About the President's Cup Tournament
The President's Cup is an initiative under the Council President's ongoing P.L.A.Y. (Productive Lives, Active Youth) campaign. P.L.A.Y. provides Baltimore's youth with a wide range of opportunities to strengthen their self-confidence, develop leadership skills, learn from positive role models, and be rewarded athletically for their academic achievements. P.L.A.Y. encourages them to thrive academically, socially and emotionally.
The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the College of Public Affairs, the Merrick School of Business, the UB School of Law and the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences.