PREMIERES SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 11 AT 9 PM ET/PT
ON SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL
Two High Schools. Two Football Teams, Battling For Glory. Except The Champs Are The Have-Nots, And The Underdogs Are The Ones On Easy Street
New York, August 16, 2010 – Football is far and away America’s sport. On the opening weekend of the NFL’s regular season, Smithsonian Channel strips away the glitz and glamour of a sport that at its core is about competition with a story that can be heard in cities and towns across the country. It’s a tale of champion versus challenger, the haves against the have-nots. On Saturday, September 11 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, Smithsonian Channel presents the world television premiere of THE RIVALS, which follows one incredible season in the lives of two high school football teams in Maine who share the same goal: to win the state championship. It’s a story about football, but also a story about America and the universal quest for respect.
Rumford is a blue-collar town in the rugged mountains of Western Maine, supported by a dying paper mill that sheds workers on a seemingly daily basis. While the town is suffering economically, its football team is a perennial powerhouse. Rumford’s Mountain Valley High School has been a contender in high school football for the better part of 20 years. They have six conference titles and two state championships under longtime coach Jim Aylward. Having played high school football in Rumford, Aylward left for college, hoping that he would never have to work in the same paper mill where his father toiled for years. His goal, besides winning, is to prepare his players to be successful in life by excelling on the field. The town of Rumford supports the team wholeheartedly, giving everything they can, even if they don’t have much, to ensure the continued success of the team. The football team is the heart and soul of the town and a source of pride for all of its residents.
Cape Elizabeth is a wealthy suburban town right outside Maine’s largest city, Portland. It’s two hours south of Rumford, and home to Cape Elizabeth High School, which is known as a “soccer school,” since its football program didn’t exist until 2004. The “Cape Kids,” as the students are known, seem to have it all. Although their football program is in its infancy, they have better equipment and facilities than Mountain Valley could ever afford. Knowing that these advantages will only take the team so far, their fiery young coach, Aaron Filieo, tries to instill in his players the same work ethic that his coach taught him during his playing days.
“The Rivals” documents these two teams, their coaches, players and towns during their tumultuous 2007 season, which had enough twists and turns for a Hollywood movie. Each team shares the same simple goal – to be the best. This isn’t just a film about high school football and competition on the field – it’s a story of class, pride and perseverance. These are lessons that the athletes from Mountain Valley and Cape Elizabeth will carry with them wherever they go, for the rest of their lives.
THE RIVALS is produced by Lone Wolf Films. Kirk Wolfinger is the director. The film has been well received on the independent film festival circuit, having won the Audience Choice Award at the 2010 Woods Hole Festival, Best Picture at the 2010 Phoenix Film Festival and Best Documentary at the 2009 Los Angeles Reel Film Festival.
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