Here is why the CFL must make the movie “Kick”

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For those who work in show business, making a movie is a process similar to building a football team. Or at least, that’s what Chris Bickford – the writer and producer of the upcoming feature film ‘Kick’ – compares him to.

“If we’re talking about building a movie, it’s probably similar to building a football team. It depends on your budget and who you can afford,” Bickford said in an interview with Mile High Huddle and former Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer, who stars in the film and helps run the film by generating publicity in North America.

Bickford and Russ De Jong, who run North Films – Canada’s largest private production company – approached several high-profile actors to star in “Kick”.

“It’s just about putting the right amount of money in front of them,” Bickford said.

“Kick” is a film that centers on four 12-year-olds in a blue-collar steel town in the province of Ontario, Canada, who “will do anything to get their team to the Gray Cup for the first time. times in 20 years. ”The team from their hometown is none other than the true Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.

In the wake of the post-Super Bowl 50 depredations, many Broncos fans will be closely linked to these children who remain steadfast and loyal to the Ti-Cats despite 20 long years of defeats. The film’s Ti-Cats are led by their 40-year-old veteran quarterback, who will be played by Plummer himself.

The film is scheduled to shoot for four weeks, which will be followed by a six-week editing and final production process. Thanks to their own interests and already secured investors, the producers of ‘Kick’ funded around 90% of the film, but North Films is still looking for investors to fill the remaining gap of around $ 800,000 to start the process.

The CFL has given its backing and backing to “Kick” as a vehicle to bring much-needed publicity and media scrutiny to a league that was sent in shock following the 2020 pandemic. However, after the XFL from Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has pulled out of negotiations to potentially merge with the CFL, this league north of the 49th parallel could really need a boost.

A feature film like “Kick” might be exactly what the doctor ordered. With the Potential XFL-CFL merger kyboshed last week, the void deal cost Canadians a projected cash injection of $ 100 million.

With $ 800,000 being all it would take to get this movie officially into production, perhaps the nine CFL teams should come together to invest the balance. As Bickford told me, we’re not talking about the hundreds of thousands of dollars each team would have to shell out.

“If each team came up with tens of thousands of dollars, not hundreds of thousands, but tens of thousands, we would make the movie,” Bickford said. “So we’re really close. “

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Maybe the CFL would be remiss to look at that gift horse in the face. With the amount of publicity that Plummer’s ever-viable NFL star power has brought to “Kick,” the CFL sees the tip of the iceberg as to the impact this film could have in bringing the product to the table. Canadian football to the American masses.

Although the NFL’s revenue has grown from $ 16 billion in 2019 to $ 12 million in 2020 due to the pandemic, she is still the queen of the American professional sports landscape. Conversely, the traditional revenues of CFLs (in recent years, not counting the pandemic season) are should be around $ 200-240 million. It fell sharply in the wake of the pandemic.

Yet that figure of $ 200-240 million is a drop in the bucket compared to its American cousins. Anyone can guess why the CFL has traditionally struggled to really win in the United States, but with a feature film centered on one of its nine clubs circulating in the United States, with a former star quarterback of the NFL appearing in a key role, and ultimately being broadcast to potentially millions upon millions of Americans, could cure many ailments of the CFL’s post-pandemic existence.

Plummer told me that he “wasn’t sure” why the CFL has failed to captivate American sports fanatics in the same way the NFL has for over 50 years, despite the fact that the product of Canadian professional football is a quality league with guys (many of whom are former NFL veterans) playing on contracts worth pennies on the dollar against the National Football League.

“I think American football, for its part, has an incorrect name. I mean, we don’t really use our feet,” Plummer told me. “On the one hand, Americans like to think that we are the only ones playing this game, but they are playing it in good form in Canada. The rules are different, so maybe that’s what kept a lot of people from joining or when you play Arena League it’s a whole different thing, but it’s American. I don’t know why Americans haven’t embraced the Canadian game so much. I know there are a lot of guys who have come up and played in Canadian League football during my years. I knew a few of these guys who had gone there because they couldn’t adapt the prototype or adapt to the NFL, so they took their skills elsewhere and had some really good careers. “

Ultimately, despite a few changed rules between the American and Canadian versions of football, it is still the game that attracts the most viewers and participants in the United States.

“Football is football for me,” Plummer said. “You always have to beat the guy in front of you. I grew up knowing the Canadian Football League. I was not a “fan” so to speak, following her. But if the Gray Cup was on, and my brothers were around, we would watch it. Sport was our thing. We liked to watch everything, everything, so I knew about the Canadian Football League. And I don’t know why … I don’t know what the numbers are, but they still play a hell of a good ball up north. ”

If the CFL took a small chance on the movie ‘Kick’ and injected the remaining $ 800,000 needed to officially give production the go-ahead, it’s unclear what kind of ripple effect this might have on the public profile. of the league in Canada and America, and how that might impact results in the years to come.

Like Plummer, I don’t claim to be an expert on the CFL and its history, but as a movie buff and sports junkie who makes a living covering the NFL, I can speak of countless films portraying America’s sports leagues – to both fictional and non-fictional alike – that have captivated me over the years. Such cinematic celebrations of their respective sports serve as a sort of marketing ambassador and make the audiences they reach all the more interested and passionate about them.

From big American baseball movies like ‘The Natural’, to ‘For The Love Of The Game’, to ‘Major League’, ‘Field of Dreams’ and ‘Bull Durham’, to their basketball counterparts like ‘Hoosiers’ and ‘Blue Chips’, to hockey releases like ‘Miracle’, ‘The Mighty Ducks’ and ‘Slapshot’, the list of cherished sports movies goes on and on.

There haven’t been as many critically acclaimed football movies, but movies like “Any Given Sunday”, “The Program”, “The Replacements”, “Rudy”, “Remember The Titans” and “Varsity Blues” “are always cinematographic. staples for many American fans.

There is no way to count how many casual fans or even non-fans my list of movies above have captivated and converted into paying customers and weekly viewers of their respective sports. Heck, even the gem of ‘The Naked Gun’ slap-stick interested me in the then Anaheim Angels as a young kid of the 1980s. This club quickly became my favorite MLB team thereafter.

It’s hard to imagine the CFL not doing everything in its power to make sure “Kick” gets done. I don’t have a dog in this fight except to say it would be really fun to see Plummer rally a fictional locker room of players like he did in the 2003-06 Orange and Blue.

And no, Plummer didn’t take acting lessons. However, if “Kick” is achieved, it will follow in the footsteps of some of the NFL’s all-time best quarterbacks who have gone on to graced the big screen like Joe Namath and Dan Marino. Plummer laughed at the thought of being compared to a guy like Namath, but if this movie is made, it’s something the two former NFL QBs will have in common besides their footballing careers.

“No (laughs). No acting lessons,” Plummer said. “If I was at home, [I’d] maybe start doing a little something but at the moment I’m not in acting class or anything like that. That’s not too much of a stretch compared to who I really was – a quarterback who was good at motivating a team to come back from behind, which I did a lot in Arizona and partly at. Denver. So I don’t think it will be like I need to go to drama school to figure out how to motivate a locker room full of football players. ‘Hey, let’s go win this thing, right?’ “

If this movie is made and looks set to come true given that ‘Kick’s’ already funded equity nears its $ 2.8 million goal, Plummer will deserve his fair share of the credit for moving pigskin on the goal line. In that case, maybe the kid from Boise, Idaho will get producer credit and end up with two roles of distinction on IMDB.com.


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Kehoe Young

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