Squeezing The Dummy

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bridge Documentary

A few years ago there were always cameras following my friend Gavin Wolpert around at bridge tournaments. Eventually I learned that a documentary was going to be made about him and his partner Vince Demuy. That didn't seem too exciting as I often hear about potential bridge documentaries and movies but the project always seems to fizzle out.

Not this time. On April 7th the documentary aired on CTV. Wait, CTV is Canadian! I was lucky enough to get to see it about a week ago in Gatlinburg when Gavin brought it on DVD. I was very hopeful that it could increase the visibility of bridge and enhance its image if done correctly.

For those of you masochistic enough to be loyal readers, you will remember that my concept of the best way to do something like this is to have almost no bridge content at all. The atmosphere and drama need to be the focus with actual hands playing a very small role so that even non-bridge players can watch and enjoy a movie or documentary on bridge.

In The Cards did not disappoint, the whole story being about a young partnership trying to prove themselves in a world of established professionals. Once they did that and got hired onto a major team they had to perform. All the while they had to maintain their friendship and partnership, a very hard thing to do. There was little talk about bridge. This is perfect because if someone who doesn't know how to play bridge watches the documentary they'll think, "That was really interesting, I want to learn bridge and become a part of that world. Bridge seems like a cool game." There was drama, big money, fierce competition, and highs and lows.

I really think that this documentary is great for the game. The only problem is that all the Americans and Europeans and Asians who don't have access to CTV may never see it. Because of this Alan Crank has put the documentary on YouTube. Since it's about a 45 minute documentary and YouTube can't handle videos that large he has cut it up into separate 9-10 minute segments.

So far only the first 2 parts are up, but as he gets more of them up I will update the list. I encourage everyone to watch the documentary and show it to all non bridge players they can, preferably young people. I also encourage all bridge bloggers to add links to the YouTube video. I really think that if bridge is going to try and get the attention of my generation it needs more media coverage of the young stars and their exciting lives. This video is a great start and we need to capitalize on it by giving it a lot of exposure.

Update: Part 3 is now up.

Update 2: Part 4 is up.

Update 3: Part 5 is up. Part 4 is apparently having some technical difficulties, but will be working again shortly. Gavin has also written his thoughts on the documentary. If you enjoyed it, I recommend reading what he has to say. If you have any relatives or non-bridge playing friends please tell them to watch this.

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