Basketball documentary at Art House chronicles struggles in small Indiana town

A movie theater in downtown Goshen has three more screenings of "Medora" coming up.

Posted on Feb. 3, 2014 at 5:19 p.m.

GOSHEN — Loss after loss is painful to watch.

“Medora,” a documentary that made its Goshen debut this past weekend, came to life Saturday, Feb. 1, with a special screening at Art House downtown that featured appearances by three of the film’s stars plus Ellyn Church, an Elkhart native who worked on the documentary as an associate producer.

The film follows a high school basketball team’s devastating losing streak and the players’ struggles on and off the court in a rusty little town in southern Indiana. Directors Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart came across the story of the Medora High School Hornets a few years ago after reading a New York Times article about the team. But, Church said, the filmmakers had their work cut out for them.

Church, the venue manager and cinema director at Art House, said folks in Medora thought the article cast the town in a negative light. The town has about 700 residents, and the high school there has fewer than 100 students, making it one of the smallest public schools in Indiana. Vacant storefronts, shuttered businesses and abandoned factories line the rural streets.

The filmmakers were able to gain the town’s trust, Church said, by spending time there and getting to know the residents as the high school basketball team struggled through another emotional, winless season.

Coach Justin Gilbert and two of the basketball players featured in the movie, Zack Fish and Dylan McSoley, answered questions from a crowd after “Medora” was screened at Art House on Saturday.

“It is hard to watch, you know, with all these guys on there and how good I have it,” Fish said. “I got my mom. I got my dad. These other guys don’t have their parents. They have a lot less money than I do. It’s hard to watch.”

The documentary chronicles the boys’ fighting to score points on the court, shaky relationships with their parents and uncertainty about their futures after high school graduation.

“It’s sometimes hard because it brings all the good times we shared,” McSoley said after the movie. “We wanted to get out of high school. We wanted to get out into the big world. I’m 21 now, and it’s just crazy how the time flies even though I’m not that old.”

Art House, 211 S. Main St., has scheduled three more screenings of “Medora.” The documentary will be shown at the theater at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, and at 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8.

Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.

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