By Nicholas Welter
The 2017 Mesa High School football program is the subject for Ramplight Media and Epic Light Media’s documentary entitled “Carry On: The Story of Mesa High Football”.
Why Mesa High? Why not another school?
Darren Lovin, owner of Ramplight Media, told Sports360AZ in an interview that the Jackrabbits were chosen for a variety of reasons.
“We looked at the overall history of Mesa High in general and how it’s been around for such a long time, the amount of wins and state championships they have, and other things that come along with being such an old program,” Lovin said.
Mesa has indeed been around for a long time. It is the oldest high school in Mesa, opening its doors for the first time over 100 years ago.
But school history isn’t all that Lovin and his team are interested in.
“What really solidified the deal with the overall interest and what we felt would be a really compelling story was the addition of Kapi as the new head coach,” Lovin explained.
Kapi Sikahema is a Mesa High Alumni and just finished his second season with his former school. He has not found early success on the field, only winning eight games in his first two years. But Lovin says the film is not about wins and losses.
The goal of the film, according to Ramplight, is to display how Sikahema is changing the culture at Mesa with his interactions with the players and in the community.
The changing of the culture includes the team’s mantra of “Carry On”, where this documentary gets its title.
“Carry On” is a phrase that stems from a tragic incident with a former Mesa football player, Zedo Ishikawa, which occurred in 1932, a scene that Lovin says is going to be reenacted in the film.
Ishikawa accidently shot himself in the chest with a shotgun while attempting to break up a fight between two dogs. In his last moments, Ishikawa told his coach and the team to “carry on”.
Eventually, this phrase became the motto of the school and according to Lovin, Coach Sikahema is using it to inspire his players.
Ramplight intends to get their film out to the public in a multitude of platforms.
“Our initial goal is to get this into a short theatrical release locally,” Lovin said. They plan to work with local theatres for a two to three week theatrical release.
The second phase of distribution is planned to be with online with companies such as Amazon Prime, Google Play, and Apple Store.
All the while they will be entering their documentary into film festivals to try and attract more attention to their film that way.
The final distribution phase is planned to be on the paid subscription based sites like Netflix and Hulu, but Ramplight says this phase is way down the road and not the focus just yet.
Lovin said he and his team hope to be finished with filming by the end of November, with the editing and post-production phase completed by middle or end of February.