Wednesday, March 2, 2016

FILM PREMIER: "The Other Ripken" at Cinequest in San Jose CA: 1989 Fleer #616 Billy Ripken

Philadelphia area Filmmaker Tim Carr has produced a short film dedicated to a single baseball card.

What Card, 1952 Mickey Mantle? No,  T-206 Honus Wagner? No, what Player? Jackie Robinson No, Babe Ruth No and Not Hank Aaron, Cy Young, Derek Jeter or any other such luminary.

The Card is the Fleer #616 of..... Billy Ripken. Yes Billy, Not Cal, Ripken.

1989 Fleer #616 Bill Ripken

The project is a short film (6 minutes) based on the story of the Billy Ripken card. If it was a full length feature I believe this would go in the Historical Fiction genre.

The Producer and Writer of the film Tim Carr was kind enough to answer a fewquestions regarding the film and his own fandom.

Where does the idea come from to produce a film about a baseball card that was made a quarter century ago?

When you look at athletes or celebrities nowadays, maybe it's the digital age where we know TOO much, but it hit me, THIS was the crazy thing for me growing up. A guy wrote a naughty word and grinned about it on a baseball card. Comparing that with the things and videos we see now from celebs and athletes, the Billy Ripken story seems so tame! Even though it looks and feels tame, I thought the story was still pretty funny, and was excited about telling a version of that story.

How does a film like this get shown at a festival, Is it grouped with a bunch of other shorts or added to the front of a feature?

Both ways actually depending on the festival. My favorite is when festivals get adventurous and put a few smaller films in front of the bigger ones, it's just a great way to expand the audience. However, this being a comedy sometimes runs into trouble at festivals, which I won't name, but sometimes take themselves a little too seriously, it's just as important to laugh as it is to "be serious" maybe even more important sometimes. But I think whether you have a smaller film like this one, or a monster budget like a superhero film, the goal is the same, you just want people to come out, see it and enjoy themselves.

Are you an Orioles Fan, Any favorite players or memories of the club?

I grew up in Avondale Pennsylvania, so it's about 25 minutes from Philadelphia and if you took the back roads, you could be in Baltimore in about 45 minutes, our local newspaper showed both of the box scores for the Philadelphia Phillies and Baltimore Orioles, so as a result many in my town were fond of both teams. Orioles wise, loved Cal and Billy Ripken, loved Mickey Tettleton, Joe Orsulak, Ben McDonald and was ALL in on that Glenn Davis trade. Memory wise, so much Baltimore wise, from visiting the old Memorial Stadium to take on the Kevin Maas era Yankees (with the these names I know I sound 400 years old and I'm fine with this), to stopping by Camden Yards in my early days in this business. I got my start on a tv show called HOMICIDE filmed in Baltimore, and have so many happy memories of the city and the people. I have dedicated this film the good people of Baltimore Maryland, as I'll never forget the love they've always shown me and am forever grateful to them for it.

1991 Bowman Joe Orsulak

Did you collect cards as a youngster, when was the last time you bought or even saw new cards?

Absolutely! I not only collected the cards, I collected those baseball card sticker albums. I would go to baseball card shows (when I first moved to Pennsylvania and didn't know anyone, I went to one and Brewers/Padres/Phillies utility man Randy Ready was there was SO very kind to me and my family. I know athletes are fond of wearing the #23, I am too, not just because it was Michael Jordan's number, it was also Randy Ready's number!) , I even collected those "Starting Lineup" action figures (my first one was Von Hayes, which I'll always remember as you never forget your first loves). I'm stumped as to the last time I bought anything new, but I can happily confirm that within the last year, a buddy of mine did buy a few baseball cards online and gave one to me. It was Von Hayes! So that was new to me. But actual recent cards, it's been a while...I really hope people still collect, that "thrill of the chase" is what made card collecting so much fun.

How did you decide on and get G. Love to narrate the film? Is his part totally scripted or is there improvisation?

The way the script was written for "The Other Ripken" I knew I needed a "voice". I needed something bold, with a sense of humor, something fresh and fun. I'd been a fan of G.Love's for a very long time, his voice was EXACTLY what I thought would work with a script like this. I spoke to his manager Jason, and G. Love is a guy who tours and records all of the time, somehow, we managed to find a time where we were both in the same town and at the same time, and something that, through very good luck, and good scheduling came together very quickly. G Love came in and knocked his lines out and was absolutely terrific,professional and hilarious, that same hard work ethic that's made him so successful over the last 20 years... and you'll see, comes through in his stellar work. The film is small, so not much improvising happened on this one, but G is welcome into any film project I ever have going whether scripted or improvised!

You have now done a football and baseball film what sport is next, Hoop, Hockey, Futbol, Curling?

It will be a perfect world when we get our epic curling film, and I bet there's a story in there somewhere! With "Leaf" (see below) and "The Other Ripken", those 2 were both written at the same time, but unless something incredibly inspiring happens somewhere, I think I may be done with the sports bio pics for the time being. However, I would love to see a documentary done on us Sixers fans these days. We're at the point in the rebuild, where the "process" has been going on for almost 3 full years, and Sixers fans are starting to take on a "Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now!" type of vibe and I am absolutely included in this. Hoping (REALLY hoping) for a happy ending for Sixers fans...

Finally your enthusiasm in Tweets, blog posts and in person at the "Leaf" Premier is incredible. How do you maintain the positivity?

Thank you so much for saying that. Thank you for reading the blogs, thank you for reading the tweets. There's a lot I look forward to all of the time. For example, the film premieres this Friday and I'm about to jump on a plane to California, but before that I REALLY am looking forward to seeing what happens next on "TOP CHEF" and before that I get to share a blog with anyone who cares to read my rantings and at the same time I'll finally get to sit down with the new Kanye West record. Everyday I look forward to something and am always and inspired excited about something and hopefully that comes through with some of that positivity. Tom Petty has a great lyric "Most things I worry about never happen anyway", and I've adopted a bit of that as my mantra. I think Tom got it right. I should get that embroidered on a pillow.

"LEAF" a film by Tim Carr

I first found Tim a few years ago when he brought his Football Biopic "Leaf" to a theater in my -hood. "Leaf" is a full length feature on 1998 draft bust Ryan Leaf.

The Film is an offbeat mix of interviews and recreated incident/low-lights from Leaf's disappointing career. I am not sure if you can find it anywhere these days - I don't recall if the Charges were mentioned specifically, but I am sure licensing issues are a factor.

Tim Carr wrote, directed and also starred in Leaf. He takes one heckuva a hit from a linebacker in the film as well. 

1989 Fleer
If you do a search of google images for "1989 Fleer" the #1 Response is the 1989F Billy Ripken card. This is in a set that includes RCs of Randy Johnson and Junior Griffey!

There you have the top images (click to enlarge). Billy is #1, he is found 4 times in the top two rows (19 cards) and 7 of 27 in the top 3, tied with the Big Unit for most on the board. Amazing a marginal player with a obscenity written on his bat becomes the most talked about card in the set.

For Phillies fans in the top right, just to the left of Johnson is a custom card of Antonio Bastardo.
There is even an entire website dedicated to the card, check it out for some fun facts and a lengthy collection of articles on the card.

And There's This
1989 Fleer Willy "the Dupe" Dipkin

There is a very well done Simpsons' Custom Parody of the Fleer Ripken card.

"The Other Ripken" at Cinequest in San Jose California
The film will screen three times at Cinequest, The first screening is 10 PM on Friday Night

For more information check Cinequest.

Sources and Links
Tim Carr Parking Lot Films
Billy Ripken

1 comment:

Fuji said...

Great interview. I live in San Jose, but none of the remaining two showings fit into my schedule. Hopefully the world will be able to watch this on the internet at some point.

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