Irv Muchnick has been using his investigative nature to find out about the new movie “Head Games” based on the Chris Nowinski book and history. Although the use of alternate media is a wonderful thing and that this movie will at least bring more people to the discussion there are some peculiar things about at least the production and the producers that make one wonder.
Muchnick, who has turned over a new leaf and started to lean away from the ‘nuclear option’ of banning the sport of football period to a more incremental – albeit very conservative incremental (however he does deserve credit for adjusting his train of thought) – approach to limiting tackle football for youth. However the bulldog that he is, Muchnick has uncovered some interesting tidbits on the new movie, currently he is in Part 5;
The principal funder of the new documentary film Head Games is Steve Devick, a billionaire music and technology entrepreneur, who co-invented and is marketing a sports sideline concussion tool called the King-Devick Test.
On the virtual eve of the first preview screening of the movie in Chicago – originally billed as a “red carpet premiere,” now called a “private sneak peek” – Devick is listed as an executive producer at the website, http://headgamesthefilm.com.
According to a knowledgeable source, Devick controls all rights to Head Games. The documentary is directed by Steve James, whose previous credits include the acclaimed Hoop Dreams. James had told me that the underwriters of his new project were anonymous.
Head Games is said to be inspired by the work of Sports Legacy Institute founder Chris Nowinski, who authored a 2006 book with the same title. Along with Dr. Robert Cantu, Nowinski co-directs the Study of Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy at Boston University.
The new film’s trailer also celebrates the journalism of Alan Schwarz of The New York Times. In what I consider a serious blow to the possibility that Head Games might come to be regarded as an independent or comprehensive account of the football concussion crisis and debate, Schwarz not only is interviewed in the trailer, but also is listed as the associate producer. Schwarz told me he left the Times concussion beat last summer, but he has continued to cover the issue in its news pages – most recently reporting on the lawsuit against the National Football League by the family of Dave Duerson.
I agree with Muchnick here it must be noted the possible conflict of interest in this movie, I am hoping that none shows through in the final edition of the film as I am very excited by the line up of those being interviewed in the movie. Those include: Keith Primeau, Cindy Parlow Cone, Bob Costas and many MD and PhD’s. One group of people I did not see were the high school athletic trainers, nothing can be perfect.
After this post I have done some digging myself and found out that not only is Mr. Devick the largest producer here he in fact has ZERO creative control over any of the film. It premiers tomorrow night in Chicago I would love to go but have work (girls softball regional playoff game) to contend with.
Perhaps if the likes of Chris Nowinski, Dr. Cantu, Mr. Devick, or any of the other producers that are in town for the Chicago film want to slip down state for a private showing? Haha…
I do look forward to the film, after all the book is what started my wheels turning for this blog.