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A high school football team in Alaska that is already the subject of an upcoming TV show on the NFL Network will also be the inspiration for a movie.
The movie will be called Touchdown on the Tundra and it tells of how the creation of a football team at Barrow High School helped bring hope and purpose to a tiny population of isolated Native Eskimo kids.
The same unlikely football program is featured in Football Town: Barrow, Alaska, which debuts on NFL Network on Thursday.
The Barrow High School Whalers are so secluded that the team flies at least 500 miles for each game not played on its home field, which is made of blue turf on a strip of land near a frozen lagoon at the northernmost point in the U.S.
The feature film from CineVantage has nothing to do with the NFL’s TV show and is partially based on the book, Thunder on the Tundra – Football Above the Arctic Circle, by Lew Freedman.
Brian Bird, who co-founded Believe Pictures with Michael Landon, Jr., is executive producing Touchdown on the Tundra and co-writing the script. Bird recently wrote the screenplay for Captive, which stars Kate Mara and David Oyelowo and tells the true story of a mother held hostage in her own apartment.
Much of the focus of Touchdown on the Tundra will be on Cathy Parker, a coach’s wife and working mom in Florida who watches a documentary about the bleak life kids are leading in Barrow. They play football, sort of, on a field made of gravel, constantly losing balls in the Arctic Ocean and depending on armed snipers to ward off bears.
After watching the documentary, she vows to help their football program by getting training for the players and by somehow building them a new stadium, and she gets help from a mom in Barrow.
“Touchdown on the Tundra is more than a sports story,” Bird said. “It’s a story about two unlikely mothers from opposite ends of the country who took on an impossible challenge in the remotest town on the planet. And in the process, they gave a generation of young men a whole new purpose for living.”
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