I know two things about Ohio State football: they have the greatest marching band halftime shows and Nonfics publisher Neil Miller is a fan. I guess that would make him a member of Buckeye Nation, the term for the university’s sports fanbase. He’s also the one who pointed me in the direction of a new feature documentary in the works called Nuts: The Best Damn Fans in the Land, which is about Buckeye Nation.
I love fandom docs even though many seem targeted to the fanbases themselves, because I enjoy seeing passionate people so long as it’s all positive (okay sometimes I’m fascinated by the negative ones, too). So, I’m looking forward to the film, which is currently looking for finishing funds at Indiegogo. And while I’m waiting for the end product, I reached out to director Mike Newman to find out about his own positive passion, the film itself, and why he had to make it. He gave me five reasons. Here they are:
1. “It’s a very personal subject matter. I’ve grown up in Buckeye Nation my whole life, yet I am capable of stepping back and looking at this fanaticism with objective eyes. I’m fascinated with character-driven stories and Buckeye Nation is full of interesting and unique characters. When it comes to sport fanbases, Buckeye Nation is in a league of its own. Unfortunately, Buckeye fans are usually portrayed by the media in a negative light. My goal is to show the positive side of Buckeye Nation that is intertwined with the idea of paying it forward.”
2. “It’s an idea that has stuck with me for over a decade because I’ve always felt like it’s one of the best ideas for a documentary that I’ll ever have. I got inspired the night the football team won the national title in January 2003. I tried and failed to get the project off the ground a few times over the years. Then, in the winter of 2012, I knew I had to make this documentary in 2013 no matter what. My instincts told me I had to make it this year. Luckily, the stars finally aligned for me in April and now I’m almost done shooting. Thinking back on the night I got the inspiration, I can’t believe I’m actually in post-production on this project.”
3. “I hope to use this movie as a springboard to paying it forward. If this project turns a profit from my intended self-distribution efforts, then I will donate a respectable percentage to Ohio State-related scholarship funds. Student loan debt is a huge problem in this country and anything I can do to help prevent a future or current OSU student from taking out loans, then I will have done my small part to help out the greater good.”
4. “I want to help other people tell their stories because I find meaning in personal storytelling. This is another way I hope to pay it forward. Storytelling plays a vital role in our lives whether we realize it or not. We all have a story to tell, and I believe the world is a better place when we tell them. I am honored that so many amazing people have shared their stories with me. It is through these stories that I will weave together the story of Buckeye Nation, the Best Damn Fandom In The Land.”
5. “I’ve been on my filmmaking journey for 12 years. I’ve sacrificed more than any sane person would ever consider sacrificing. I’ve put in way more than 10,000 hours of practice. I’m at a point in my career where I need to produce a project so ambitious that it will either make me or break me. I need a definitive answer as to whether or not all my hard word and patience has been worth it.”
The estimated time of release for Nuts is Spring 2014. Check out the trailer and a clip below.
“Lori Schmidt of 97.1 The Fan talks about the high expectations this year.”