Official Selection - 2009 Austin Film Festival Official Selection - 2009 Kansas International Film Festival Official Selection - 2009 New Hampshire Film Festival Official Selection - 2009 Docufest Official Selection - 2009 Docuwest Official Selection - 2010 Buffalo Niagara Film Festival Official Selection - 2010 Seattle True Independent Film Festival Official Selection - 2010 Dallas Video Fest
Home Page Press Page DVD Page



Production Notes

Production Notes

The idea for Left Field started when producer Chris Batte attended a kickball game where some of his buddies from a local watering hole spent their Sunday afternoons shit talking, drinking and playing a children's game in Chicago's Humboldt Park. After pitching the idea to friend and filmmaker Ben Steger, the two began shooting what was to be a short film about a rag tag group of bar buddies charging their way through the kickball league's playoffs in August of 2006. With a few days of game footage and a dozen impromptu interviews, the film was mostly shot and ready for editing when Steger's camera bag was stolen and hours of footage disappeared along with it. Realizing he was very committed to the idea, Steger thought there was more than a short film here and the two decided to make the project into a feature length film covering several teams, a whole season and exploring the subjects lives away from the field.

Shooting began on the feature length version in the spring of 2007 and continued through the end of summer and into the fall of that year. Once the principal observational footage was completed, executive producer Lawrence Adams and editor Ian Miller joined the project and helped fully realize the potential of the film. While Miller began his year plus process of logging and reviewing footage, Steger and Batte set out to interview nearly 30 of the kickball players asking them questions about their lives, families, careers, hobbies, hopes and dreams.

As the film was beginning to take shape in the early summer of 2008, Steger and Batte began the process of revisiting some of the subjects to follow up with them as a new season of kickball was in full swing. Tragedy struck unexpectedly when KC Haywood, a central character in the film, suffered an accident which led to his hospitalization, coma and eventual death. Steger and Batte had both become close to KC and struggled with the idea of filming the league coming to grips with the loss of one of their own. What they ended up capturing was a community discovering that they were more than friends, they were a family who loved and supported one another.

With the film taking on a different direction, editing stretched out into the fall and early winter of 2008. With the additional work of comic book artist Nathiel Bryan, motion graphic artist Eric Burton, graphic designer Zack Hull, music accumulated from bands within the league and sound designer Dan Stock, the project began to come together in way Batte and Steger had not envisioned 2 and a half years earlier. With the final touches sprinkled on by colorist Jimmy Cadenas, the film was completed in early 2009 and screened for the kickball league at the Portage Theater on February 26th to resounding approval.

It has since screened at the Gene Siskel Film Center, receiving positive reviews from the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Reader.
Share |
© 2010 Humboldt Productions. All Rights Reserved