In life, you sometimes get the opportunity to work on something that touches you deeply. Passion projects, we call them. At Main Gate, we encourage everyone on our team to devote 20% of their time to passion projects that we can produce and deliver together. None More American, a Feature Documentary profiling a number of young men who chose to play football at West Point after the events of 9/11 and commit to serving their country, most likely in harm’s way, following graduation.
We kicked off the project in August of 2013, and we are months away from the film’s release (Nov 22, 2016). The film was the result spurred by the documentary series “Destinations” Main Gate filmed and produced for for the US Army. The “Destinations” project took us around the world, visiting soldiers where they train and where they fight, including Balad and Baghdad, Iraq. MAIN|GATE founder Rob O’Sullivan, a former Army officer himself, spent most of his childhood years at West Point, watching Army Football games with his grandfather. He has always looked at the type of young person who choses West Point and service to nation as selfless and honorable. For him, watching young men taking on Divison-1 opponents like Michigan State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, TCU, and Stanford – all programs with a significant physical, athletic, and competitive advantages – and being able to compete and win, was a lesson that has become the foundation to Main Gate’s approach; Together, we are more powerful than the sum of our parts.
In today’s environment of individual accolades and accomplishment, Army Football and Army Football players are different. There are no NFL contracts waiting for these guys when they graduate. There are no special privileges for football players. There is an honor system, rigorous academic calendar, summer military training, and everyday military lifestyle that must be followed.
As they take the field each week, Army Football players touch a plaque with a quote from General George Marshall during World War II that reads, “I want an officer for a secret and dangerous mission; I want a West Point Football Player.” They proudly take their place in a long line of storied leaders that have been successful on the battlefield and beyond. Leaders like Dwight Eisenhower, COL Greg Gadson, and MAJ Don Hollender.
<strong>“None More American”</strong><em> profiles twelve former players that embody the true spirit of Army Football: Selfless Commitment. Brotherhood. Fierce Determination. Relentless Effort. Young men who chose the more difficult path of service to country, sacrificing the typical college experience to prepare to lead others into combat, and who serve honorably when called upon.
The road to completing this film has become more fulfilling and special than we ever could have anticipated. The relationships, the willingness to share how these young men feel about the men and women they serve with and lead, provides insight to the modern, compassionate warrior needed on today’s battlefield. The dedication to each other, to the mission, and to the people they serve is truly inspiring and gives great confidence that the next generation of U.S. leaders will be experienced and prepared to take their place in protecting America’s values, in strengthening her foundation, and in ensuring the preservation of our way of life.
The ability to study subjects we are passionate about, produce compelling content, and distribute stories that touch us all is an opportunity not lost on any member of our team. By ensuring we stay true to the people and stories we produce, by bringing that same passion to our clients, we believe we bring a unique perspective and style to every project. The ability for our subjects to trust us by sharing some of the most personal and poignant experiences, especially when they may involve life, love, loss, or difficult conversations, is a responsibility we hold sacred. It’s the core of why we are able to do what we do.
By the way. If you have never seen a football game at West Point on an October Saturday, you must do it. While there are tons of incredible seats at Michie Stadium, sit on the upper level on the home side for one of the most incredible stadium perspectives in the world. And make sure to talk to some cadets while you were there. You will walk away feeling very good about the people stepping up to preserve our nation and freedom.
Keep an eye out for release information for None More American in the coming weeks.