UH Football Experience film lures eyes to campus
What started as a film to document an underdog team rising to new heights became a token for the UH football team and a prestigious recognition for UH— winning three Lone Star Emmy’s for outstanding achievement as director, editor and photographer.
Sculpting with Time Productions’ film, “The UH Football Experience,” was nominated for five categories: audio, director, editor, photographer and writer.
The Lone Star Emmy Chapter is a regional EMMY Award to highlight the most experienced and talented television professionals from all disciplines of the industry and from all of Texas’ 19 television markets.
“It’s filled with so much drama, (it’s) so right for storytelling,” SWT Founder and Director Alex Douglas said. “From the flip of the coin toss to the final buzzer, you never know the outcome, there’s no script. So many stories (are) unfolding as the game goes on.”
The intention of the film was to highlight UH’s strides in improving their athletic sector. With the new stadium and President Renu Khator’s propelling support, the UH football team has made a historic record in performance compared to years past.
“We wanted to capture the drama, the spirit and the comradery of the team,” SWT Founder and Director Whitney Douglas said. “Our storyline is just what does it take to be this college athlete and maintain that image, what kind of sacrifices and dedication do you have to have. This was all unfolding as the team was playing in the brand new stadium, and coach Herman was brought as the new leader.”
The film begins talking about the journey that started long ago, the football team’s rising journey to excellence.
Similarly, the founders, creators and directors Alex and Whitney Douglas’s journey in documenting, capturing and visualizing the Houston football team started early last year and lasted for eight months.
“As artists and storytellers, we’re just looking for the right story,” Whitney said. “We were both raised in Houston and when we heard more and more about all the investments the university was making in building this state of the art, multimillion dollar TDECU Stadium to the way Dr. Khator has really had this vision for the school and really taking this to the next level. We just knew this was really an awesome time to bring this idea and make something special for the University of Houston.”
The film continues to talk about the sacrifices, the pain and the joy the members endure at every practice and at every game. Alex explains that a change in the coaching staff and a change in the athletic director seemed like an obstacle hindering their original idea of the film.
“With any film, nothing is going to go as it’s planned. You’re always going to encounter challenges and if you just stick your course, maybe you’ll end up with a lesser product,” Alex said. “I think documentary filmmaking is all about adapting and being flexible and allowing the story to reveal itself instead of forcing the story.”
Ultimately, the change in staff actually aided their finished, polished product.
“But then,” Whitney said, “came these amazing opportunities to make something bigger than what we had originally imagined.”
When they debuted the film at the Carl Lewis Theater in the spring of 2015, it was not to young men who recently joined into the sport, but rather to athletes who endured many years of training.
“I think it was a really amazing way to honor all their time and sacrifice, all the energy they’ve put into this game,” Alex said. “They’ve been playing their entire lives, since they were little boys and they take such pride in what they do and for it to be commemorated on a screen like that and to show all their sacrifice and all the work they put into it. I think it showed them of being larger than life and showed them of being these heroes of the city that they are.”
Captured in the film is Tom Herman speaking to his team.
“It takes no talent to be the most physically, dominant team in the country, zero, it takes this,” he said, as he points to his heart.
Backup quarterback Kyle Postma elaborates on Herman’s statement as he has encountered in practice and games.
“It’s all about your heart, that’s really what we preserve with,” Postma said. “We really just played for each other which really helps out because it’s real easy to quit when you’re playing for yourself, and when you’re playing for someone else, as in your whole team, it’s almost impossible to just give up.”
Postma is one of many athletes recruited to the team after being inspired by the new coaching staff and the potential they brought entering the 2015 season.
With this film, the SWT hopes to encourage not only Cougars to support the team but also Houstonians.
“Over the past few years, (UH has) made so many leaps and bounds and investments in the school,” Alex said. “It just felt like the team really needs this…UH has a great record this year (and) getting a rally behind the team, it’s really put Houston on the map.”
CORRECTION: The Carl Lewis Theater was originally identified as the Carl Luis Theater.