About this project
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.
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
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.
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.”
“It’s a story with serious human drama and suspense that most feature films would love to have... a Hoop Dreams for baseball.”
“Ballplayer: Pelotero is a stark documentary that sugarcoats nothing... the accusations and innuendo in this film are startling.”
“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.”
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
Risks and challenges
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!
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