New York City THC Featured in Documentary
By: Ben Teitelbaum and Monica Alba
Almost every time we tell someone about our movie, Home Court, we have to start by explaining what type of handball we’re talking about.
We know the team handball community in America understands this predicament well. Here, “handball” typically conjures up images of guys smacking a rubber ball against a wall, not the beautiful team sport that’s beloved around the world.
When we began filming the New York City Team Handball Club (NYCTH), we didn’t necessarily intend to produce the first-ever independent English-language documentary on team handball. It just happened, thanks to a story too good to be ignored and a team that was unflinchingly open.
Home Court is a team handball film, but at its heart, it’s a film about the connective power of sports and the drive to compete.
It’s about the unlikely family of NYCTH, a New York team with no New Yorkers, a group of guys from five continents who come together through a sport that has barely any foothold in their new home. Home Court follows NYCTH as the club seeks to defend its national title and cement its reputation as the “United Nations of handball.” It also follows the quest of the squad’s one homegrown American, a transplanted Midwesterner who is striving to make Team USA and represent his country in international competition.
Going back to the beginning, this all started as a project for our documentary class at Columbia Journalism School. But after spending four months with NYCTH and shooting many dozens of hours of fantastic footage, it became much more than that. We knew we had a story that would resonate with the world, if we could only finish it properly.
So we raised funds on Kickstarter (thanks again to all who donated) for a composer, sound designer, color corrector, and more. Several months later, our baby was born.
Now, Home Court—a 40-minute movie—is playing five film festivals and hopefully finding worldwide distribution. We’ve already screened at the Prishtina International Film Festival in Kosovo, and two festivals in New York: the Hoboken International Film Festival and VisionFest.
We’d love you to join us this upcoming Wednesday, June 25, at 6 p.m., at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City’s East Village as part of the NewFilmmakers New York screening series. After that we’ll be playing the Long Island International Film Expo on July 16.
Team handball is growing in the U.S., and we believe it should and could become a popular sport here. We hope Home Court can be a positive part of that process, that it can help open America’s eyes to the greatness of handball and the people who play it.
Check us out at handballfilm.com, Facebook, and @handballfilm on Twitter.