Red White Black and Blue Odyssey (2017)

redwhiteblackandblueodyssey

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A two-year journey chronicles the ICEF Rugby high school team in this interesting documentary from filmmaker James Brown.

For the past eighteen years, the Inner City Education Foundation has brought the sport of rugby to schools in South Los Angeles. Led by Coaches Stuart Krohn and Dave Hughes, the program, comprised of both a boys team and a girls team, go abroad to various places and compete in friendly matches against other schools, with a show of respect between both teams before and after the competitions. A two-year odyssey highlights a group of players who have felt the impact the sport has made on their personal lives as well as their athletic lives.

The team goes to New Zealand, China, France, and England among others. One notable player, Leodes Van Buren Jr., looks to overshadow his one-time promising father, who made some bad choices. Jenesse Bacon is looking forward to going to college but goes through her own personal stresses. Nia Toliver struggles to balance her personal life and school life when things come to ahead in what will be her final season with the team. This is a group who have grown up together and despite the obstacles that come their way, the ICEF Rugby Program have endured everything and to this day, remain a “family”.

Since its inception in the late nineties, the ICEF Rugby Program has become a great program for inner-city kids, thanks to the program’s two leads, Coaches Stuart Krohn and Dave Hughes. This documentary is a compilation of three small films from New Zealand-born filmmaker James Brown, who followed the team from 2012 to 2014 on their road to respect and fame.

While the history of the program is not described, the focus is more on the lives of the students involved as they endure and overcome personal obstacles through the sport of rugby.  As the team visits and competes against schools from around the world, they achieve a level of respect not only with the teams they face, but in some aspect they achieve a level of respect within themselves. However, in the cast of one player, her personal life meshes with the sport in a negative light to a point where she reaches her breaking point, putting Krohn to have her face a disciplinary action.

While many documentaries showcase interviews with the subjects and close ones of the subjects, this is a documentary that brings you to the players and coaches, who work so hard to make the program work to where the players themselves are showcased as they work hard to achieve success both on and off the field.

Red White Black and Blue Odyssey is definitely an odyssey into the world of rugby as seen through the eyes of the ICEF Rugby Program. It is both exhilarating and heartwarming to see what everyone goes through as they have goal in mind: success.

WFG RATING: A

XLrator Media presents a Branch Out Media production. Director: James Brown. Producers: Thomas Burstyn, Stuart Krohn, Chris Packard, and Barbara Sumner-Burstyn. Cinematography: Anton Leach. Editing: James Brown

Cast: Stuart Krohn, Dave Hughes, Leodes Van Buren Jr., Jennese Bacon, Cameron Griffin, De’Janae Jackson, Asa Garrett, Cameron Griffith, Marjau Sauve-Meneses, Nia Toliver.

XLrator Media will release the film on VoD and iTunes on August 15.

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