Blog Entry

FantasyLand the movie

Posted on: March 18, 2010 2:44 pm
Edited on: March 18, 2010 7:13 pm
I have a sneak preview of FantasyLand that I am going to watch in my free time after work tonight or tomorrow. I wasn't a fan of the first trailer, ripping it in a FantasyTake for putting the geek back in Fantasy Baseball. Sam Walker's book did such a good job of taking the geek out of Fantasy Baseball and its premier league Tout Wars, legitimizing it as a hotly contested battle of science, skill and wit -- not a merely "Can you outdork this?"

Well, I am told by the documentary's PR staff that I will like the movie much more than I liked the trailer, so we will see.

Here are the release(s): 

Endgame/wonderland team up for FANTASYLAND

Los Angeles (March 17, 2010) – Tipping its cap to the estimated 30 million Americans who play fantasy sports– most as a fun hobby, some as an all-consuming obsession –  Endgame Entertainment and Wonderland Sound and Vision are launching a feature length documentary Fantasyland, as well as introducing fantasy centered content to be produced across all platforms exploring fantasy, both in sports and pop culture.     

SnagFilms is releasing Fantasyland, which will premiere on March 19<sup>th</sup>, on their flagship site as well as  The film is financed and produced by James D. Stern’s Endgame Entertainment and produced with McG’s Wonderland Sound & Vision and John Limotte and Doug Bernheim’s Sound Pictures.  SnagFilms is a platform dedicated to taking compelling documentaries and making them available to audiences worldwide. 

Inspired by the best-selling book by Wall Street Journal Sports Editor Sam Walker, Fantasyland is a feature-length documentary about the culture and lifestyle of fantasy players.  Directed by Stephen Palgon (two-time Sports Emmy winner as producer of the HBO documentary series Legendary Nights), Fantasyland follows Jed Latkin, an amateur fantasy baseball fan who earns the chance to compete with the industry's best in an expert league called Tout Wars during the 2008 baseball season.  Before that season began, Jed was a rising young financial analyst planning to start a family with his new wife.  But by the time the season ended, he had traveled thousands of miles to personally connect with his players, pulled countless all-nighters, and nearly missed the birth of his twin son and daughter, all in the relentless pursuit of one, increasingly elusive goal:  winning Tout Wars.

Fantasyland has a built-in audience of 30 million fantasy sports players, other fantasy and sports enthusiasts as well as people intrigued by the exciting, humorous, sometimes scary and surprising lengths to which otherwise normal people will go just to win a mere contest of pride,” says Endgame CEO James D. Stern.  “We’ve long been a nation of sports fanatics, and Fantasyland reveals that fanaticism in its most intense, and entertaining, form.  We’re thrilled to partner with SnagFilms to bring this film to fans and audiences worldwide and see this as the perfect launching point to inspire other fantasy centered content in the sports world.”





FantasyLand: A Season on Baseball’s Lunatic Fringe


Before the 2004 baseball season, Sam Walker was a happily married, tie-wearing sportswriter leading a responsible and well-rounded life.  But by the time that season was over, he had spent tens of thousands of dollars, traveled 19,000 miles, missed 3 weddings and a funeral, and ignored a raging fire in a neighbor’s apartment.  He’d become a caffeine-addled insomniac with back spasms, willing to ignore family, work and anything else that might distract him from his one, increasingly elusive goal:  winning his fantasy-baseball league.

Inspired by Walker’s best-selling book of the same name, FANTASYLAND is a documentary feature film about the bizarre and fascinating world of fantasy baseball, wherein an estimated 15 million Americans (approximately 5% of the nation’s population) actively play or have played fantasy baseball.  In FANTASYLAND, we’ll meet some of these people - the fans, fanatics, experts and amateurs, who battle it out every baseball season (and beyond). 

As in Sam Walker’s book, FANTASYLAND will document an “amateur” fantasy baseball player’s first season participating in Tout Wars, the ultimate fantasy baseball league, where the self-appointed gurus of the sport reside. However, unlike Sam Walker, the film’s lead character will not be a sports professional with media credentials and industry contacts; he’ll be an ordinary fantasy baseball player, who is thrown into the lion’s den of Tout Wars and forced to compete with the experts.

In 2008, Jed Latkin, a research analyst for ING and a fantasy enthusiast, beat out several hundred people for a seat at the TOUT WARS table, to test his skills against the foremost experts in the industry.  Utilizing his professional skills as a trader, and his innate ability and resourcefulness, he traveled to spring training to connect with scouts, players, journalists and anyone else willing to answer his questions about which rookie is due for a breakout season, what veteran fell out of shape during the off-season, and which overpaid superstar might see his playing time cut.   And his quest for information did not end once the first pitch was tossed on the 2008 baseball season:  whether it was tracking down Justin Verlander to give him a pep talk, confronting Carl Crawford about his recent performance, or even learning a little Japanese to communicate with Ichiro, Jed went to any length to win the league.

FANTASYLAND also examines the ways in which Jed’s personal life was severely impacted by his obsession.  Cameras followed him in his daily life as well as he had to manage his day job, a new bride, and the birth of twins.

In addition, FANTASYLAND will explore the larger cultural significance of fantasy baseball and other fantasy competitions - which includes every sport from football to soccer to Nascar, as well as fashion leagues, celebrity leagues, political leagues, and even graduate student leagues (where students draft their classmates and earn points on how well they do in school). 

Ultimately, FANTASYLAND will appeal to fans of competition documentaries like “Spellbound”, “Mad Hot Ballroom” and “King of Kong”, as well as the millions of fantasy sports players, general sports enthusiasts and anyone else intrigued by the exciting, humorous, sometimes scary and surprising lengths to which otherwise normal people will go just to win a mere contest of pride.

Director - Stephen Palgon, has 12 years of experience of working with a variety of television networks (including HBO, ESPN, CBS, USA), creating featured programming including the documentary “Star Crossed: The Shakespearean Tragedy of Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden”, which received a Gold Medal New York Film Award.  Palgon also won two Sports Emmy Awards for producing and directing the HBO documentary series “Legendary Nights” as well as ESPN’s Hurricane Carter “Sports Century” documentary.

Producer - Endgame Entertainment is a privately financed independent entertainment company, headed by James D Stern one of the owners of the Chicago Bulls, producing and financing such films as Oscar nominated “Hotel Rwanda”, “Harold & Kumar Go White Castle”, “Lord of War” and the Oscar nominated Bob Dylan Biopic “I’m Not There” and “An Education”; while directing “Michael Jordan to the MAX” and “The Year of the Yao”.

Producer - Wonderland Sound and Vision was founded by McG who has directed several films including “Terminator: Salvation”, “We Are Marshall”, and “Charlie’s Angel’s 1 & 2”.  He is also responsible for creating television shows such as “The OC”, “Chuck”, “Pussycat Dolls’, “Supernatural” and most recently “Human Target”.

Producer - Sound Pictures is an independent production company run by John Limotte and Doug Bernheim and has produced several independent films including “The Assassination of Richard Nixon”, “Live Free or Die”, “Winter Solstice”, and “Pretty Bird”.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or