Dear '88 Fans,
Though it's been a while since our last update, things are still happening behind the scenes to make Wild About '88: The Rise of Arizona Basketball a cinematic reality.
If you have a few moments, we invite you to listen to the latest episode of the "Bear Down Bias" podcast. You can listen to it below. In it, we answer questions about the challenges we've faced so far, where the film is at now, and our next steps forward.
Your support continues to mean the world to us. We are bearing down! Tucson, the '88 team, and Coach Olson deserve this!
Sean and Brad
Directors, Wild About '88: The Rise of Arizona Basketball
Dear '88 Supporters,
On April 12, The University of Arizona dedicated a statue to Lute Olson outside of McKale Center. Arizona Basketball greats like Damon Stoudamire, Pete Williams, and (beloved '88 Gumby) Matt Muehlebach paid tribute to Coach Olson with heartfelt speeches, and the man himself said a few words of gratitude before witnessing the unveiling of another piece of his legacy. Our film crew was privileged to be front and center on media row for the momentous occasion.
Matt Muehlebach and Coach Olson take turns at the podium. © 2018 Waterfoot Films
To be honest, we arrived at the ceremony disheartened. As you may know, Brad and I hoped to have Wild About '88: The Rise of Arizona Basketball finished in 2017. It was our original goal, and one we spent a lot of time and energy trying to achieve. When we were unable to reach that goal at the end of last year, it was discouraging to say the least.
But as our cameras rolled and that day's all-star cast spoke to the decades of hard work and sacrifice that brought them, Coach Olson, and the Arizona program to that very moment, it was hard not to see a parallel to our own (slightly smaller) endeavor, and be encouraged:
Pete Williams' 84-85 team aimed for a Pac-10 Championship, but missed the mark. Matt Muehlebach and Damon Stoudamire punched for an NCAA title in '88 and '94, but lost the bouts. In each instance they fell a little short of their goal, but in the process laid an incredibly important foundation for future players and teams to come.
It made us realize that while we may have fallen short of our original goal, the foundation we laid with your help and support is just as strong now than it ever was. And there's more good news: we won't run out of eligibility before we reach that ultimate goal! As painful as it was to fall short of our goal last year, we have resolved to move forward, and not look back.
So, we move forward. The long and the short of it is, we need finishing funds to pay for post production services such as editing and sound mixing, and to cover licensing fees related to NCAA archival footage. Our work right now is focused on creating a multi-pronged strategy to raise those funds. New announcements about those campaigns will be coming soon.
We are as committed as ever to making (and finishing) the best darn film we know how. We know that with your help, we will get there, and together we will build a mighty cinematic statue to Coach Olson and the '88 team.
Sean (and Brad)
Co-Directors, Wild About '88
PS - If you'd like to help financially before we unveil our next fundraising campaigns, you can always make a donation using this link.
The filmmakers Brad Malone (left), Sean P. Malone, and crew member Roy Wilkins (right) pose with the statue. © 2018 Waterfoot Films
Are you ready for your closeup? Want to have your memories featured in the film, or on our DVD bonus features?
Since we started making Wild About '88: The Rise of Arizona Basketball, we knew "The Fans" would be an indispensable, crucial character. The Fans and Tucson are as important to Arizona Basketball as Gotham City is to Batman.
Through the years we have taken photographs of and with our favorite players, and captured home movies of big moments. We hope you have done the same. Your memories will help us give you the meaty movie role we've always imagined for you!
So we're putting a call out to all Arizona Fans to submit personal photos and home movies you've captured through the years!*
This is not limited to the 87-88 season. We would also love anything from the "pre-Lute" era (Enke, Larson, Snowden, Lindsey, etc.), Lute's early years at Arizona (83-87), and of course the 1997 National Championship season. Anything from Arizona's long and storied Basketball history is also welcome.
Here's what we're looking for, along with basic instructions on how to get things to us:
These are pictures of you with Wildcats, or just pictures of Wildcats that you took.
If you already have them in digital form, please email them (along with a short description of the photo) to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have physical photos, you can scan them, or simply take a high quality photo using your smartphone's camera. Then please email the full quality versions (along with a short description of the photo) to email@example.com.
These are videos of Wildcats that you shot. For example, if you waited for the Cats at the airport in 1988, and shot a video of it.
If they are on old tapes and not digitized, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll coordinate with you to digitally capture them. If you already have them in digital form, simply share the video file with us using a file sharing service (DropBox, Google Drive, iCloud, etc.), and email to email@example.com (please include a short written description of what's in the video).
If you have anything else you think might interest us, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about it! Just to be clear, we are not asking you to donate any physical items to us, but rather find a way to share your photos and videos with us digitally, using the Internet.
*By sharing your photos and/or videos with us, you are giving us permission to use them for any and all purposes related to Wild About '88: The Rise of Arizona Basketball, including but not limited to: advertising, promotion, and/or exhibition on any and all media platforms now known or later developed.
In other words, if you don't want something in the film, on our DVD bonus features, or used to promote the film, then please hang onto it.
Your photos and/or videos may or may not be used in the finished film, but even if they aren't, there's a strong likelihood that they will still end up on our DVD bonus features! Plus we will put the names of everyone who submits memories in the closing credits of the film!
Thank you! We can't wait to share your memories with Wildcat Nation!
Brad and Sean
Wild About '88: The Rise of Arizona Basketball
Dear '88 Supporters,
Brad here, it's been nearly four months since our last blog entry, and since then we have accomplished a lot.
We haven't made a big deal out of this, but for the past several years, my brother Sean and I have been working on the film whenever we could: off and on, after hours, and in between long stints at our full time jobs. The distance between us has also been a challenge. Sean lives in Orange County, California, and I live in Tucson.
We would take a couple weeks off of our "day jobs" here and there to capture interviews for the film, embarking on epic road trips spanning from Oakland, California to Middlebury, Vermont ("from sea to shining sea!").
Even at times when Sean and I could not attend interviews together, Sean and (Co-Producer) Mustan Dawood would travel and film on location, and I would participate via video chat.
This Summer we have been blessed with a great opportunity to take extended time off of our day jobs, be in the same location, and work full-time on the film. Being together has proved immensely satisfying and productive. We make a good team, and I am so lucky to have someone as talented as my brother to help me with our creative vision.
As we mentioned in the past, we are essentially past the interview stage, and we are now in the post-production stage. Over the past several weeks, we have been watching, re-watching, and organizing over 50 hours of interview footage, tightening up our outline, and rolling up our sleeves to make our first rough cut. It's exciting!
My original plan for this blog was to break down the historic '87-'88 season week by week, but we have realized that the film itself needs as much effort as we can muster right now. So, we have decided to modify the blogs. Instead of a detailed season review, we will be using this platform to update you on our progress and share behind the scenes moments. Take a look at this video for an inside look into our "process." :)
Thanks for all the support you have given us so far! Stay tuned, on Monday we'll be making a big announcement about more ways to get involved, and maybe even have your '88 memories featured in the film!
Brad (and Sean)
Wild About '88: The Rise of Arizona Basketball
I was born in Tucson in 1975. I was aware of the Arizona Wildcats growing up, but it wasn’t until the 1987-88 season that my passion for Arizona Basketball exploded, and my life changed forever.
As anyone living in Tucson, Arizona at that time can tell you, it was a very special year. The personalities on that team were so big, the play they exhibited so dominant, that when the Cats suffered those supremely rare losses at the hands of New Mexico, Stanford and eventually Oklahoma in the Final Four, my 13 year-old mind nearly broke. I just didn’t understand how it was even possible.
They were that good.
Here's a pic of me and the late great Sean "Wookie" Rooks. © 2017 Waterfoot Films
Leading the team was a Hall of Fame coach, who helped prepare 6 of its players for NBA careers. So far, those fellas have collected 10 championship rings in the Association. Not included in that list is one of the fastest men on the planet, Kenny Lofton, who himself ended up a 6-time MLB All Star.
That year, support for the Wildcats in Tucson reached a whole new level of crazy. Sure, the Cats enjoyed a good following at various times before that season, but add in being ranked No. 1 in the country for the first time ever, charging all the way to a Final Four, and even having your own rap video, and things can get a little bit berserk.
The fearless leader of the Red Army tailgating crew Chaz Elsten once told me a story. It was the baseball season after the ‘88 team made its mark, and in Chaz’s Little League, teams got to choose their own names. 9 out of the 10 teams in Chaz’s league proudly named themselves the Wildcats.
In Tucson, Arizona, that obsessive passion for Arizona Basketball continues to this day. As author and sports writer Anthony Gimino told us, “It’s kind of like SEC football in the South. You talk about it 365 days a year.”
The ‘88 team’s supremacy on the hardwood put Tucson on the map, and set soaring standards that Arizona would be held to, and hold itself to, for the next 3 decades. Future teams added speed to momentum the ‘88 team started, and made Arizona into one of the most successful college basketball programs of the last 30 years.
I never wanted that season to end. That’s one reason I decided to make this film, to relive those thrilling moments again and again. The memories are still so fresh in my mind, and no matter how great my Wildcats are year after year, there will never be anything quite as special as the first time.
When I started the journey of making this film in 2008, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, or that it would take me so many years to complete. I was inspired early on by my little brother and co-director Sean. Our love of movies has always been a big part of our lives, and I watched carefully as he was living out his dream and going to film school.
Me and my bro on our way back from a big interview trip. © 2017 Waterfoot Films
Another inspiration came in the form of a documentary called The Ostrich Testimonies by Jonathan VanBallenberghe. I was deeply moved by his beautiful film about the Ostrich farm between Tucson and Phoenix.
I thought, “If these two gentlemen with Tucson ties can be filmmakers, why can’t I?” I had a journalism degree from the University of Arizona, but I wasn’t using it. I thought film would be a good way to channel that training. But what did I want to make a film about? It didn’t take long at all for me to realize, I wanted to tell the magical story of the 1988 team.
It’s been nine years since that moment, and we are so close! My brother and I have poured in countless hours of research, travel, filming interviews, and promotion to make this dream a reality, but couldn’t have done any of it without the support of you hundreds of people who have helped us along the way. Because of what we have accomplished together with you, we are on track to release the film late this year.
When we interviewed Kevin O’Neill and asked him what made the 1987-88 team so special, he had this to share:
“Everything was fun. Practice was fun, team meals were fun, the bus ride, everything was fun."
Former Arizona Assistant Coach Kevin O'Neill sitting for our cameras. © 2017 Waterfoot Films
With these blogs we hope to show you what we think he meant by that. We will be going through the entire 1987-88 season week by week, plus sharing some fun entries about the making of the film, and what it was like to talk to our heroes during these past four years.
If all goes to plan the film will be completed in time for the start of the 30th anniversary season of our favorite Arizona team of all time.
Thanks again for everything you do for ’88.
November will be here before you know it.
- Brad Malone