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September 19, 2014     The Catalina Islander
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September 19, 2014
 

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Nathan D. Snyder to write a baseball story set dur- ing a non-modern time period, and also make it larger than life. Hence the destiny and fate themes, which I don't think have been actively explored in film as much. PLAYER OF THE GAME is actually a much larger project than just the short film here at Catalina. This is a teaser for the concept as a whole, which has actually been envisioned as an 8 to 10 episode limited television series that chronicles Jake's entire life from the moment he is born to when he makes his major league debut as a teenager pitching for the Chicago Cubs in 1969. Of course we learn much more in the series about his family, friends, and enemies than we do in the short film. Q: What about the autism angle? Where did that fit in? A" I wanted to create a dichot- omy between race and disability, where both groups are segregated and oppressed based on physi- cal and mental qualities that are natural-born. There is so much hate, fear and bigotry in this world against people we perceive to be different than us. Elements we can't control like the shade of our skin, or physical and mental dis- abilities. To me, one of the most interesting things about autism is its history and how it became regarded today as a genetic, diag- nosed condition, versus the past, when it was perceived as a disease or an affliction that was thought to be acquired and could be removed. The differentiation of autism from its history as schizophrenia and institutionalization. Q: As a director and writer, how do you explore autism on film? A: That's another reason why I wanted to make PLAYER OF THE GAME - all the interesting cinematic tools that create autism on film. You can creatively explore elements of vision like repetition, focus, and imagination, .while also delving into more psychological territory such as panic, anxiety, fear, confidence and competition. Q" What about capturing the nuances of baseball on film? A: Yeah that was another challenge I wanted to tackle. I haven't really seen a film that truly captures the authenticity and beauty of baseball in a cinematic sense. Many of the great baseball films, "Field of Dreams", "The Natural", "Major League" have compelling stories or characters, but I wouldn't say the baseball- centric moments in those films are as authentic and real as they could be. With PLAYER OF THE GAME, I really wanted to have the most realistic and detailed baseball sequences. I've watched thousands and thousands of hours of baseball on TV, played the game my whole life, and roman- ticized the sport to such a degree that the camera angles, shots and movements were ingrained in my directing choices. Luckily I also had some great actors who could tapped into the emotional moments of their characters, and were also very good at baseball. Q: Thank you for talking to us about PLAYER OF THE GAME, and we're looking forward to seeing the film on Wednesday, September 24th at the ACC Theater at 6:00 PM. A: Thanks. I hope everyone can come and check out the film on Wednesday. See you there. The following is a represen- taion of an inerview with Nathan D. Snyder, writer and director of "Player of the Game." Q: Congratulations on your short film PLAYER OF THE GAME being selected for the Catalina Film Festival. How does it feel? A: Yeah, thank you. It feels great to be recognized as one of the top films and to have the honor of screening at the festival on this beautiful island with so much film history. A: Sure. PLAYER OF THE GAME is a short film about an autistic boy named Jake who dis- covers his love for baseball in the rural South during the 1950s and 60s. He's destined to become the first autistic player in the Major Leagues, but he hasn't yet know- ingly stepped on that path. In the short film, the hands of Fate guide young Jake on this journey and help him to fulfill his destiny. Q" Sounds very interesting. How did you come up with the story? YER oF THE Q: Can you tell us a little about PLAYER OF THE GAME? Without spoiling it, of course. A: Well I love baseball and I've been obsessed with the game my entire life. I really wanted i t, tr |mtiSt i0EU ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Fri ayl seP i i er -9 2bi: 17