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Red Land Little League to get own documentary movie

Patrick Strohecker
505-5402/@P_Strohecker
  • A documentary about the Red Land Little League team is planned.
  • The name of the documentary is "Against The Odds."
  • The producers are hoping the move will open sometime in 2017.

CAMP HILL — Nearly seven months after losing in the Little League World Series championship game, the Red Land team is getting its own Hollywood ending.

On Wednesday, in a special event held at the Grace Milliman Pollock Performing Arts Center, it was revealed that the northern York County team would have its own documentary produced, “Against The Odds,” re-creating the team's magical run to Williamsport. Red Land rolled through the state, Mid-Atlantic Region and United States portion of the LLWS bracket, before ultimately being defeated by the Japanese team in the championship game. Throughout the team's journey, it captured the attention of communities throughout the south-central Pennsylvania region and beyond, setting attendance records during its LLWS games in Williamsport.

Now, it will all be relived on the big screen.

“What inspired me most is how the community came together,” Jameson Hesse, the film’s producer and creator said after the event. “I had never seen that before, and I just thought it was amazing that, in this day and age with Internet, nobody really connects personally and I just saw this awesome connection and it just really moved me and I had to do something about it.”

Red Land loses 18-11 to Japan in LLWS final

Hesse grew up in Etters, a small town in northern York County and played for the Red Land Little League organization. Now, he’s a filmmaker out in Hollywood and, like the entire community, felt an attachment to the team during its run.

The film will not only focus on the team’s on-field heroics, filled with blowout victories and walk-off wins, but also the community’s attraction to the team and the way it bonded to support the group of 12- and 13-year-old kids.

“The story isn’t just about baseball. This is a love story,” Hesse said. “It’s a love story and some main characters and the game and community is all just part of the story. But, there’s a main focus, which is a love story. Kind of like ‘For the Love of the Game’ and ‘The Rookie.’”

Hesse is also joined on the film by producer/writer A.J. Ferrara, producer Tom Abraham, actor attachments Peter Dobson and James Wilder and cinematographer Ron Vidor, who was part of the film crew of “Rocky III.” However, despite the film's Hollywood production crew, the entire movie will be shot locally and in Williamsport.

Raising funds: Part of the reason for the event, which was essentially a pep rally to bring the community together again, was to announce an Indiegogo fund that has been set up to raise money to produce the movie. You can access the crowdfunding site through the movie's website, againsttheoddsmovie.com. There are different categories of contributions on the site, ranging anywhere from small payments of $100 or less all the way up to thousands of dollars, which can earn you a producer credit and your name in the credit lines in the film.

“We figured that if we’re going to make this movie, let’s bring the community together again like that,” Hesse said. “Bring them together so they can be a big part of this. Each and every one of these people are going to be part of the credits and some will be in the movie and we’re going to try and re-create that ‘Red Sea.’ Basically, that’s what this is about. We’re going to raise the money, one way or another, but I wanted the community to have the first stab at making this movie because we don’t want Hollywood taking it somewhere else.”

Red Land returns home as heroes

The film is still in pre-production stages and the script is being written as planning goes on, according to Hesse and Ferrara. But, the plan is to release the film in 2017, with it first opening locally in private showings for the community.

Proceeds from the film will go back to the Red Land Little League organization to help construct a field of dreams to commemorate the team’s run to becoming U.S. champions.

Much like the team’s improbable run last summer, the idea of a movie being made about the journey was a bit surreal at first, but then turned into excitement.

“I think everybody was excited,” manager Tom Peiffer said. “I think everybody couldn’t really believe it at first, including me. I’d never thought we’d come to this day. We’ve been talking about it, we probably had our first meeting in October or November, but I never thought it’d come to this.”

Each of the players will have the chance to play themselves in the film, so after becoming superstars over the summer, they’re now going to try their hand at becoming movie stars.

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com