Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 17, 2013.

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Playing ball comes easy. Playing the game is harder.

WE MADE IT! 

Thanks to all of your generous support we have made our goal of $25,000 in only 10 days! We are so overwhelmed and have so much gratitude to everyone who has pledged to the project and helped spread the word. 

But it's not over yet! We've got a new stretch goal we are aiming  for! 

STRETCH GOAL: $45,000! 

Thanks to you we are set for production through 2013. Every dollar from here on out will go towards one of the most important periods on the horizon to make this project a success: being on the ground in 2014, the year Miguel will most likely be called up. It could happen at any time and will ultimately be the final shining moment of this story! We need to be shooting as much as possible and prepared to jump at a moments' notice. If we reach our stretch goal it will prepare us to finish this film and capture the moment Miguel makes it big! 

We've got a whole bunch of new rewards too! We have added additional signed photos, balls, and bats. We've got a few more headphones, and have repriced some of the luxury items too! We have also added two new rewards, a DVD combo pack for $45, and brand new T-shirts produced exclusively for the Kickstarter campaign by the talented folks at THE VANITY PROJECT

A Dominican way of life. "Always Forward, Never Backward", a good motto to live by! If you have already contributed and want to add a T-shirt, increase your pledge by $30 and we'll make it happen. 

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In 2009 we spent a year living in the Dominican Republic to answer a seemingly simple question: Why are Dominicans so good at baseball?

The result was our first film, Ballplayer: Pelotero , which followed 16-year-old prospect Miguel Sano, a once-in-a-generation talent, as he navigated intense competition and corruption to sign with the Minnesota Twins for an astounding $3.15 million. The film earned critical acclaim from the New York Times , Variety, and The Wall Street Journal and exploded into controversy as MLB commissioner Bud Selig spoke out against it. 

But Miguel’s dreams didn’t stop there, and neither did ours. For the past three years we have been filming a sequel about Miguel’s road to the Bigs, and have learned that getting signed can be the easiest part for young, elite Dominican players. 

Hours of footage show Sano grappling with the crushing pressure that comes with his preternatural talent. He faces a jarring acculturation to American life, a painful separation from his family and must navigate an increasingly complex web of professional entanglements that forces him to consider who his friends really are.

We will tell, for the first time ever on film, the full and complete story of a major sports star’s rise from anonymity to superstardom. But first... 

WE NEED YOUR HELP.

Up until this point, we've funded this project completely out of our own pockets. We believe in this story that much. But, we've officially broken the bank. We need your help to raise the money necessary to keep the cameras rolling.

Here's exactly what your generous contributions will pay for: 

  • 5-6 film shoots in the U.S. during Sano's upcoming minor league season, as well as
  • 2 shoots in the Dominican Republic during this offseason. 

The money we raise will cover basic expenses for these trips, like accommodations (we're talking Best Westerns, not the Four Seasons), flights (coach), rental cars (compacts) and food (fast).

Every single dollar counts, and anything you're willing to give goes a long, long way for us. In exchange, we have some awesome rewards for the baseball fans in your life. Check them out below.

If you want to go the extra mile to help us out, one of the best things you can do is post the link to this Kickstarter to your Facebook, or Twitter, and email your friends about it. Shout it from the rooftops. And soon enough, we’ll have a movie for you to enjoy!

Miguel is a really special athlete with an amazing story and we feel privileged to have the chance to tell it. We hope you share our excitement at being a part of this process and we are so very thankful for all of your support along the way!

Thank You Very Much!

Jon, Ross, Trevor, and Isaac

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THE FILM

Ever since Miguel Sano picked up a bat on the poor island nation of the Dominican Republic, he has been promised money and fame beyond his wildest dreams. But can he live up to the hype?

Now 19, Sano has been compared to baseball sensations the likes of A-Rod, Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera. His extraordinary talent is what has brought him this far, but it's also the source of intense pressure from his family, franchise and fans. We began filming Sano's journey when he was an unknown teenager, one of thousands of hopeful kids trying to lift his family out of poverty by signing with an MLB club.

At 15 years old, Sano became the most highly valued and contested young free agent on baseball’s international market. Yet, what should have been a bidding war over the most expensive Dominican prospect in history gave way to a bitter scandal that will forever haunt his credibility. When the dust settled, Miguel ended up signing with the Minnesota Twins for $3.15 million -- far less than he might have otherwise earned.

He has since risen to become the Twins' most highly valued minor leaguer, and one of the top prospects in the game. Our close relationships with Sano, his family and the Twins organization offers us unprecedented access to Sano's challenges both on and off the field. We have accumulated hundreds of hours of footage, and thus far baseball has been the easiest part of the path for Miguel. Sano has been thrust into American life in small town cities, creating a painful separation from his family and close friends thousands of miles away. His rising status on the field has drawn suitors from every angle who are seeking a piece of the expected millions he will sign for in the big leagues, forcing him to question every new relationship. And, of course, the crushing pressure to perform not well, but brilliantly.

This new film will show every step of Sano's career, from his humble beginnings in ramshackle training academies in the Dominican, to -- if all goes according to plan -- the bright lights of a Major League baseball field.

As one of the top ten prospects in all of Major League Baseball, scouts and baseball executives promise Sano he'll be in the Major Leagues in just a few short years, if not sooner. This film offers a never-before-seen look at the entire span of a young athlete's career -- and the pitfalls he must overcome to achieve greatness.

THE TEAM

GUAGUA PRODUCTIONS (DIRECTORS) is Jon Paley, Ross Finkel and Trevor Martin -- three New York based documentary filmmakers hell-bent on telling great stories.  Guagua formed in 2009 in the Dominican Republic as a result of directing Ballplayer: Pelotero, the predecessor to this film.   Ballplayer: Pelotero was released in theaters across the country in 2012 by Strand Releasing and is now available on Netflix and iTunes.  Other credits for Guagua include Associate Producing Lotfy Nathan’s film 12 O’Clock Boys, set to premiere at SXSW in 2013, and work on Isaac Solotaroff’s Wham! Bam! Islam!.

ISAAC SOLOTAROFF (PRODUCER/EDITOR)  is a two-time Emmy nominated documentary producer, director and editor. The last film he directed  WHAM! BAM! ISLAM! opened the 2011-2012 season of PBS's flagship documentary series Independent Lens and sold to over 30 international television markets.His other directing credits include Visioning Tibet (2006) for American Public Television, Los Romeros for PBS's American Masters and Belief Amended, Faith Revealed (1999) which was chosen as one of the outstanding documentaries of 1999 by the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences.  Isaac was a producer and editor on Ballplayer: Pelotero.

LOVE FOR BALLPLAYER: PELOTERO

“An unsettling portrait of a system rife with corruption and betrayal... Pelotero is more investigative journalism than ESPN-style mythmaking.”  - Los Angeles Times

“Ballplayer: Pelotero” is all about the dehumanizing power of money, and growing kids into superstars at bargain basement prices... a quietly devastating documentary.”
- The Wall Street Journal

“It’s a story with serious human drama and suspense that most feature films would love to have... a Hoop Dreams for baseball.”
 - The Washington Post

“Ballplayer: Pelotero is a stark documentary that sugarcoats nothing... the accusations and innuendo in this film are startling.”
 - The New York Times

“What gives Ballplayer: Pelotero it’s edgeis a nexus of corruption, exploitation, and betrayal that transforms this well-shot, cannily edited item into an engrossing expose.” 

 - Variety

The documentary ignited a fire storm of controversy when MLB commissioner Bud Selig spoke out against the film during the MLB State of the Union address at the All-Star Break. In addition to being covered by ESPN.com, Yahoo!, USA Today and more than 60-outlets nationwide,

Who is Miguel Sano?

Still not convinced about Miguel’s potential to make it all the way to the Show?  Don’t take our word for it. 

#12 MLB.com ranking 2013

Rated as best tools for Power and Arm Strength in the minors.

Compared by scouts to: Jose Bautista, Miguel Cabrera, Giancarlo Stanton.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

IT’S GOING TO TAKE TOO LONG!:
Shooting a movie that could take six years or more to finish is inherently risky. Luckily, we are already four years in and depending on Miguel’s career, could even finish shooting this year. That said, you’re right, the timeline is daunting. But from day one we knew what we were getting into. We’ve also deliberately structured the rewards we’re offering so the majority can be delivered immediately, and you won’t have to wait for the movie to be done to get your awesome stuff!

THIS ISN’T ENOUGH MONEY TO FINISH THE FILM!:
Correct. The goal we’ve set for this campaign is not enough to finish the film in and of itself. We will inevitably need to raise more money at some point. What’s most important is getting this project to the stage where we can take it to financiers in the film industry for finishing funds. Over the course of our careers, we’ve learned that most distributors and investors won’t fund independent films like ours until the home stretch. We are really close. So close we can taste it. And we really need your help to get there!

WHAT IF HE DOESN’T MAKE IT?:
Knock on wood, this is extremely unlikely. That said, you have to roll with the punches in this business and whatever happens in Miguel’s career, we will be there to capture it. Unfortunately, neither character in HOOP DREAMS made it to the NBA, but we can all agree it was still a great movie!

FAQ

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    13 backers

    Get all of our updates and a BIG thank you on our website! We’ll be uploading exclusive content here on our Kickstarter page that’s only accessible to our backers, so join the club.

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    76 backers

    For a digital download of the film, all you need is $15. Along with the download of the film, secure your place in history with a SPECIAL THANKS credit in the film, plus the above! We promise we’ll pick a nice font, so your name will look very pretty.

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    67 backers

    $20 - Feeling Nostalgic? Relive the early days of Miguel Sano and Jean Carlos Batista with a DVD of Ballplayer: Pelotero, plus receive a Special Thanks and access to exclusive Kickstarter Content.

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    37 backers

    A DVD of Pelotero II, complete with bonus material. You’ll also receive a thank-you postcard from the directors, a Special Thanks in the credits, and access to our exclusive Kickstarter content.

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    35 backers Limited (25 left of 60)

    A signed photo of Miguel Sano from his season with the low-A Beloit Snappers. Photographers Justin and Vincent Rinaldi spent all of the 2012 season capturing stunning images of Miguel, not available anywhere but here. You also get a digital download of the film, a SPECIAL THANKS in the credits, and access to our exclusive Kickstarter content. Please specify which photo you would like.

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    10 backers

    These T-Shirts are, as some Dominicans might say, Una Vaina Bacana. Created exclusively for our Kickstarter Campaign by the talented folks at The Vanity Project. They say "Siempre Pa'lante, Nunca Pa'tra". Dominican slang for "Always Forward, Never Backward", a motto we try to live by. Comes in all sizes, in black and grey. Check the photos. We'll throw in a digital download of The Miguel Sano Story, and access to all of our exclusive Kickstarter content.

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    15 backers

    We've had a lot of people asking for the DVD combo-pack of Ballplayer: Pelotero, and the Miguel Sano Story. Well, this is your chance to get both for a discount! You'll get the original film shipped to you days after the Kickstarter finishes!

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    20 backers All gone!

    A signed LIMITED EDITION Wobble Head of Miguel Sano from his time playing with the A-class Beloit Snappers, plus a digital download of the film, a Special Thanks in the credits, and access to our exclusive Kickstarter content.

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    8 backers

    A full sized movie poster of either Pelotero I or Pelotero II, YOUR CHOICE. Plus a digital download of the film, a Special Thanks in the credits, and access to our exclusive Kickstarter content.

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    44 backers Limited (16 left of 60)

    A Miguel Sano autographed baseball, plus a digital download. You’ll also get a Special Thanks in the credits, and access to exclusive Kickstarter updates.

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    8 backers Limited (2 left of 10)

    You'll be the only fan in your city with these Official MLB BigR Rosewood Headphones! These babies haven’t even reached market yet and are available in all 30 teams. You’ll also get a Special Thanks in the credits, a digital download, and access to exclusive Kickstarter updates.

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    8 backers Limited (1 left of 9)

    You’ll get a Miguel Sano autographed BWP signature bat. These bats are unavailable to the general public! You’ll also get a Special Thanks in the credits, and access to exclusive Kickstarter updates.

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    A pair of shockingly good tickets to a Washington Nationals game. Get up close and personal with one of the hottest teams in baseball in these awesome seats on the lower level behind the Visitor’s dugout. Make sure to watch out for Dominicans Eury Perez and Rafael Soriano. You’ll also get a digital download, a Special Thanks in the credits, and access to exclusive Kickstarter updates. Go Nats!

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    You’ll get the “Classic Edition” of the Baseball Opus. These limited edition books are filled with historic baseball photos, never before seen in such a large and stunning format. This is the coffee table book baseball fans dream about.

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    3 backers Limited (2 left of 5)

    Host a private screening of the completed film, before it hits theaters or television! One of the director’s will accompany the film for a conversation about the film and the issues that it brings to the table. Must be local to New York City area. Not in New York? Send us a message.

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    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    Tour the “Mecca of Baseball”: San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. Want to see where Alfonso Soriano, Robinson Cano, Miguel Sano, and some of the best Dominicans in baseball come from, firsthand? This is your chance. One of the filmmakers will personally lead a 3-day tour of the area’s incredible baseball landscape. You’ll meet trainers, scouts, as well as the island’s top young talent, get a taste of the day to day life, and catch a Dominican Winter/Summer League game. Travel and lodging are not included. That said, we’ll help you coordinate your stay, and find a mutually convenient date for the trip. You'll also get a DVD of Ballplayer: Pelotero, a digital download of Pelotero II, A poster of your choice, and a Special Thanks in the credits.

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    Dominican baseball tour for TWO! Save $1000 on this all-access tour by booking in pairs.

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    Associate Producer Package: You’ll get an Associate Producer credit on the film, but more than that, have the chance to come on a shoot in the Dominican Republic. See how the film’s made, meet the characters, and get an up-close and personal look at the future of baseball. Don’t worry, we’ll do all the heavy lifting, you’ll get to sit back and enjoy the ride, all expenses paid.

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Funding period

- (30 days)