Take what you think you know about Cincinnati FC and get ready to make room for lots of new footnotes, whole never-before-told stories, and behind-the-scenes influential figures.
The upcoming Cincinnati FC documentary titled Nonstop Flight: The Untold Tale of Cincinnati FC, which debuts Wednesday at 8pm on WCPO-9, is pulling the curtain back on the club’s first five years in ways that likely Old fans of the FCC have new and new reasons alike.
The creative agency 4th Floor, owned by Cincinnati’s play-by-play spokesman Tommy Schehrten and has had the FCC organization’s cameras since the club’s introductory press conference in August 2015, produced the documentary.
The film focuses on five of the most important moments in Cincinnati FC history, all of which largely played out in public.
As with any professional sports franchise, however, to a greater extent, the most important moments took place behind closed doors – sometimes in unforeseen and uncomfortably dramatic ways.
That’s what the 4th Floor team wanted to bring to light with the documentary: The real story behind one of the greatest startup successes in Cincinnati history, warts and everything.
“We started this process (five) months ago. We decided to film 20 people and we had to immerse ourselves in the five best moments in Cincinnati FC history. We went through them and found them – the first game, the Crystal Palace Game, the Open Cup run, the USL Regular Season Championship and the MLS home opener, “said Marc Graham, senior director of video creativity on the 4th floor and director of the film. “But to tell the story of those moments, so much more is going on, which leads to whether (John) Harkes gets fired and Alan (Koch) gets in the picture or moves into USL last year and you had the trophy home That was the goal from the day we started. “
Participants in the documentary include Chief Executive Officer and Controlling Owner Carl Lindner III, Jeff and Lindsay Berding, the Chief of Staff of FC Cincinnati, Cody Parsons, Cook, Director of Soccer Operations, and the FCC’s first employee, Dan McNally, Scholar and FC Cincinnati commentator Kevin McCloskey, two-time interim coach and current assistant coach Yoann Damet, former club manager Gary De Jesus, current and former players, supporters and The Enquirer.
After talks to include him in the documentary, former head coach John Harkes declined to attend, Graham said, adding that 4th Floor is pleased to see Koch, who was relieved of leadership roles in May 2019.
“In my opinion, if you had told me you can’t have Alan and you can’t have Harkes, let’s do that. I would say you can’t. It’s not right because these two have such a unique perspective, “said Graham.” You have to get the different perspectives, because without them it’s just a feel-good story, only good things come out of it and you don’t make the story fair. “
The process of making the documentary is as interesting as the documentary itself.
The film was commissioned during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. It was closed from content creation discussions with Cincinnati FC while the 2020 season of Major League Soccer was halted by the pandemic.
The pandemic presented some significant obstacles, the least of which could be the fact that the FCC was not playing games.
For Koch’s interview, camera equipment was flown to Colorado, where Koch trains the Colorado Switchbacks of the USL Second Division Championship in Colorado Springs. Graham then guided Koch through a series of questions about Zoom with minimal on-site assistance.
The respondents were given location options for conducting their interviews. The off-camera masking was emphasized as was social distancing.
What emerged from the pile of images and audio from each interview is what you will see on Wednesday, but getting to this point was no easy task.
“Imagine diving into the deepest part of the ocean without understanding what is underneath. Stay down there for a few years, take a breath and try to tell someone what you saw, when you were down there, “said associate producer Will Rettig of the filmmaking process.
Each interview usually lasted longer than 75 minutes, Graham said, with Jeff Berding going the longest at roughly four hours over portions of two days.
On the 4th floor, interviews worth about 25 hours were available for transcribing and searching. Of course, a lot of good material hit the cutting room floor.
Compressing 25 hours of interviews into a two-hour documentary (adapted for television, ie the documentary runs 100 minutes) meant 16-hour days and long nights away from home for the film team during production.
“We made a 100-minute documentary in less than four months,” said Graham. “That doesn’t happen very often, but we are at a unique time. We are in a pandemic … now is the opportunity to give people something they can escape.”
It sounds clichéd, but it was really a love job for 4th Floor to seize the opportunity to take on the documentary. The club and agency have partnered since the club was founded, and the filming process was a continuation of that relationship, Graham said.
It was also a job of honest storytelling, said Graham, who said in an August interview that the completion of the film was one of the best moments of his career.
“What I’ve learned is that when you tell a story that involves so many people – an entire city, a climax of so many people who were involved in the success of that story – that your job is to unite the story To give a heartbeat, to give It is a pulse and makes the film open its eyes to the world, “said Graham. “That’s what we did with it. It’s a new look at a story we’ve all lived.”
The 4th Floor creative team working on the film was led by Graham and consisted of Cori Ward (producer and editor), Rettig, Brennan Warner (director of photography and editing), Connor Leupp (sound editor and mixer, assistant editor) and Robbie Boyles (assistant editor, cameraman).