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Jay DeMerit's 'impossible journey' captured in documentary
by Ridge Mahoney, October 10th, 2011 6:06PM

TAGS:  men's national team, mls


[MEDIA WATCH] "Rise and Shine; The Jay DeMerit Story," a documentary film detailing the career of the U.S. national team defender Jay DeMerit, will be screened at locations across the country in early November.

Worldwide theatrical distribution and marketing company D&E Entertainment has arranged for more than 125 U.S. theatres to show the film starting Nov. 3. Most outlets will screen the film Nov. 3 and 4, though a few have requested longer periods of use, according to a D&E spokesman. (A separate distribution deal is being negotiated for release in Canada and the United Kingdom.)

A promotional arrangement has been struck with AYSO and discussions are ongoing regarding a partnership with Major League Soccer. "D&E and the filmmakers are expecting to announce soon a cross-promotional deal with MLS in support of the film,” said the spokesman.

The film chronicles DeMerit’s youth in Green Bay, Wis., a solid if unheralded college career at the University of Illinois-Chicago, and wanderlust trip to England in search of a pro career after MLS clubs declined to draft or sign him. He eventually made his way to Watford, then in the League Championship (second division), which gained promotion to the Premier League in May, 2006, thanks in part to DeMerit’s goal in the playoff final against Leeds United at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

His play at Watford earned a callup to the U.S. national team and eventually a spot on the 2010 World Cup squad. A year ago he signed to play in MLS with the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps.

Co-directors Ranko Tutulugdzija and Nick Lewis, along with DeMerit, formed Truth2Life Productions to develop and produce the film. The filmmakers raised funds through Kickstarter, an online fundraiser for musicians, artists, filmmakers and others to fund projects via donations and contributions by the public. “Rise and Shine” exceeded a $215,000 goal by almost $10,000 and is the top Kickstarter campaign ever for an independent film. A final push in March produced the last portion of funding needed to purchase 2010 World Cup match footage from FIFA.

Athletes and celebrities such as U.S. national team midfielder Stuart Holden, Rivers Cuomo of the band Weezer, and Seth Meyers of “Saturday Night Live” lent their support to the project along with soccer fans and members of the general public.

“To have people reach out and volunteer their time and creativity has been something we didn’t expect,” said Lewis in a statement. “It really is a testament to Jay’s story. This film is not just for those who love soccer but for anyone who has a dream.”

 The complete list of locations will be announced once distribution arrangements are finalized.

"Rise and Shine" trailer:

  1. Carl Walther
    commented on: October 11, 2011 at 12:34 p.m.
    Why was this film made? He didn't overcome any huge obstacles like third world poverty or homelessness to become a professional player. I don't get the point.
  1. Gak Foodsource
    commented on: October 11, 2011 at 2:14 p.m.
    The fact that he worked his way up from the pub leagues to the premier league is undoubtedly impressive... but I agree with Carl. The biggest obstacle he had to overcome was an American scouting system that didn't think he was good enough. Is that a reflection of Jay overcoming obstacles or our system inadequately identifying talent?

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