Scott Matzka was in peak physical condition — a member of the University of Michigan’s 1998 NCAA champion hockey team and a 13-year professional player for teams like the Grand Rapids Griffins and Kalamazoo Wings. After receiving a devastating ALS diagnosis at the age of 36, Scott grapples with plans for the remainder of his life while relentlessly advocating to find a cure for the terminal disease.
Much of metro Detroit music composer Dan Yessian’s career was built upon his ability to create catchy commercial jingles – think Detroit TV classics like his tune for a Dittrich Furs advertisement. But his life takes a dramatic turn when Yessian is asked to write a classical composition to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, in which 1.5 million Armenian citizens were murdered by the Turkish Ottoman Empire in 1915.
How does the balance of nature and nurture that exists in every person differ for elite athletes? What relationship between athleticism and artistry is expressed in the performances of dominant sports figures such as Wayne Gretzky, Pele, Serena Williams, Michael Jordan and Jerry Rice?
Erik Nelson’s film takes an inside look at the daily life of men of the Eighth Air Force, who flew deadly missions during World War II. The film features newly restored 4K footage and outtakes that were shot by Oscar-winning director William Wyler for his 1944 documentary “The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress” and recently discovered in the National Archives.
In 1954, the U.S. military detonated a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean with a force 1,000 times greater than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In “Day of the Western Sunrise,” Michigan native Keith Reimink tells the stories of three surviving Lucky Dragon fishermen, from their terrifying experience on the ship to the medical consequences of the radiation to personal hardships that followed, combining interview footage with kamishibai-inspired animation.
“Jump Shot” tells the inspiring story of Kenny Sailors, credited with introducing the modern-day jump shot in basketball. Sailors dazzled college basketball fans in the early 1940s with his never-before-seen “leaping one-hander” while leading his Wyoming Cowboys to the Collegiate National Championship in Madison Square Garden.
California’s Napa Valley is one of the top wine-growing regions in the world, celebrated for at least four decades as a kind of American Eden: an idyllic and luxurious global destination, but a place where vineyard workers and small producers are rarely credited for the valley’s famed bounty.