Community Cinema focuses on high-school basketball team

Community Cinema focuses on high-school basketball team

URBANA — WILL's free Community Cinema screening for April follows the down-but-not-out Medora, Ind., high school basketball team, whose struggles parallel its town's fight for survival.

Sponsored by the Illinois Public Media/Spurlock Museum Community Cinema Partnership, the screening and discussion will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory St., U. Free parking is available in university lot D-22 next to the museum. The discussion panel will include:

— Robert Hughes Jr., professor, University of Illinois Department of Human and Community Development.

— Mary Maurer, assistant dean for field education and clinical assistant professor of field education, UI School of Social Work.

— Carol Wilson-Smith, clinical assistant professor of field education, UI School of Social Work.

WILL supplied this synopsis of the documentary:

"Years ago, Medora was a booming rural community with a thriving middle class. But the factories and farms have closed and the population has dwindled.

"Filmmakers Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart traveled to the tiny town after reading a 2009 story in The New York Times about the struggles of the basketball team. The next fall, with the blessing of Medora High School and the local community, they began to document a year in the life of some of the players and coaches.

"The Hornets' three coaches are all volunteers who hold down full-time jobs as a cop, a preacher and a stonecutter.

"Rusty Rogers, the 6-foot, 5-inch center, is virtually homeless due to his mother's problems with alcohol and lives with point guard Zach Fish in public housing. Shooting guard Dylan McSoley wonders whether he should reach out to his dad, a man he's never met who lives in the next town over. Robby Armstrong, a farmer's son, wants to be the first in his family to complete high school, while Chaz Cowles, arrested on a gun charge, does his best to stay out of trouble with the law."

"Medora" will premiere on the PBS series Independent Lens at 9 p.m. Monday on WILL-TV.

Topics (2):Film, Television