‘The Rivals’ more than a football movie

From the Sun Journal
By Randy Whitehouse, Staff Writer

It was an ending that pleased Kirk Wolfinger the father and delighted Kirk Wolfinger the filmmaker.
The 2007 high school football showdown between perennial power Mountain Valley and upstart Cape Elizabeth was a turning point not only for both teams but for the 56-year-old documentary fillmmaker, who has done more than 200 films for television that have appeared on programs such as PBS’ Nova.

Wolfinger’s son, Ezra, was a sophomore defensive back for the Capers, so the 16-14 Capers victory made him proud. But what happened after the game gave him something he couldn’t have expected.

The post-game scene is the climax of Wolfinger’s film, “The Rivals”, a documentary chronicling the budding football rivalry between the struggling mill town and the affluent suburb, which will be screened at Mountain Valley High School on Friday. The victory gave the unbeaten Capers the Campbell Conference regular-season title and provoked a mad rush onto its new artificial turf field by a couple of hundred fans. Players were caught up in the celebration while a stunned Mountain Valley squad waited at the 50-yard-line for the traditional post-game handshake.

As Cape Elizabeth coach Aaron Filieo and quarterback Jim Bump tried to pull the Capers from the celebration for the midfield meeting, Mountain Valley coach Jim Aylward, feeling his team was being disrespected, sent his team off the field. He eventually called them back, then confronted Filieo to voice his displeasure.

“At that moment I had a great film. Up until then, I had a good film,” said Wolfinger, who operates Lone Wolf Documentary Group out of South Portland. “I had a film about these two teams and these two cultures and the underdog on the football field beats the reigning champ and I could have ended it right there and it would have been a good sports film.”

“But at that moment, I had a great film about these two towns, these two teams, and what it means to deal with winning and losing,” he said. “That was a moment where great tension and drama comes to a head.”

For the rest of the article:

The Rivals screens November 16 at the Gateway Film Center at 7 pm.


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