‘Saving The Roar’ Set To Premiere At State Theatre September 17
It’s been almost three years since it was announced that a documentary about the 2012 Penn State football team, “Saving the Roar”, would be released. Now, it’s finally set to make its debut this weekend on Friday, September 17.
Even though there hasn’t been much heard about the documentary since it was announced, Penn State and college football fans may be in store for a treat when they see it for the first time.
The idea for the film came about in 2018 after HBO released “Paterno,” a biopic starring Al Pacino that takes place in the weeks after former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested on child sexual abuse charges. Bob Morgan, a Penn State alumn, sat with filmmaker Michael P. Nash in a Beverly Hills hotel and said it’s a shame that HBO didn’t tell the positive side of the story. It was there where the idea was born.
“At the end of the day, we decided that it might be best to do a documentary on it and literally do a story that was told through the eyes of the players and the coaches who were there,” Nash, now the director and producer of the documentary, said.
Players and coaches from the 2012 team, perhaps the most important group in the program’s long history, headline the cast of the documentary. Players and coaches who had a great influence on the team, such as Michael Mauti, Michael Zordich, Matt McGloin, and even Bill O’Brien, tell the story of that season from their own perspectives. Other stars outside of the 2012 team include Penn State football legends Franco Harris and Saquon Barkley.
Production of the documentary began in 2018, and it was already viewed by tested audiences in 2019. After test screening had concluded, there were only a few tweaks to make before it officially made its debut. Unfortunately, like many other projects, the COVID-19 pandemic set the release back. Now that movie theaters are starting to get packed and life is somewhat returning to normal, Nash saw the perfect opportunity to release the documentary ahead of Penn State football’s White Out matchup with Auburn.
The film was initially announced under the name “Iron Lions,” the signature term coined by the 2012 team. However, that changed once Nash and his production crew started to interview the players and coaches who are a part of the story.
“When we interviewed Saquon Barkley, he said something along the lines of ‘This is the team that saved the roar,'” Nash said. “To me, it really made a lot of sense.”
The documentary has already gotten positive feedback from notable Penn Staters during the screening process. President Barron, James Franklin, and even Sue Paterno got to see the film before its release. Nash and Morgan even screened the film for the coaches of the Penn State basketball team after Pat Chambers resigned as head coach.
“We were asked to come in and screen the film to the coaches,” Nash said. “So, we believe that this is going to be a wonderful recruiting tool for Penn State. It really is their ‘Rudy’ story.”
In addition to potentially drawing emotions from Penn State and college football fans everywhere, Nash said it was also emotional for the players and coaches interviewed in the documentary.
“When we were interviewing Mauti, Zordich, and all of these other guys, it was incredibly emotional for them,” Nash said. “You can tell that they had kept a lot of this in for seven or eight years at that point, now almost 10 years. I think, in a way, the interviews became very therapeutic for them. We started hearing about things that had never really been brought up in the media before. So, there’s a lot of interesting aspects of this story that I don’t know if even the Penn State people who followed it really closely know about simply because these guys have never really talked about it.”
Even though Nash is not a Penn State alum himself, he said making the film helped him learn and understand how important the 2012 team was to the program and the Penn State community.
“For the players who stayed, they went through hell. But they ended up playing for something bigger than themselves,” Nash said. “Franco Harris says in the movie, ‘These players had the past of Penn Stae on their shoulders, and they had the future of Penn State on their shoulders. We owe these kids everything,’ and he is right.”
The film will premiere at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 17, at The State Theatre downtown. Following the screening, there will be a live Q&A with Michael Mauti, Michael Zordich, Matt McGloin, and Nash.
There will also be a second showing at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 18. Tickets to either screening can be purchased here.
For those who can’t make it to the debut this weekend, there will also be an online home theatrical release on at 6 p.m. on Friday, September 17. There will be six scheduled screenings every day for 30 days starting Friday. More information on showtimes and streaming the film is available here.
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Take Penn State against the spread, folks.
Take Penn State against the spread, folks.
Penn State’s own herbarium hosts specimens dating back to the days of Evan Pugh.
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