Austin Film Festival Review: Fathers of Football

High school football doc keeps to the playbook

Wagoner, a town in Oklahoma nearing 9,000, is a communal close-knit group that eagerly awaits the Friday of each week. At least, this is the impression you get from Fathers of Football, the new Kickstarter-funded documentary by Sooner State native-turned-Austin resident Bradley Beesley.

The Wagoner Bulldogs, who hold the longest winning streak of any high school team in the state, are more than just a sport for this town. They represent the best of small-town life for everyone, on-field and off.

Beesley’s work covers some familiar material, documenting the hardships of a season containing obstacles that can be gathered from any episode of Friday Night Lights. Everyone in and adjacent to the team is in his spotlight, noting the trials of academia, parental neglect, personal health, etc. as the school year moves on.

His and the film's intentions are overwhelmingly sincere. The camera is eager to find connective tissue from everyone that walks through its path, but it’s difficult not to question who this is for outside of the die-hard fans of the sport and the Wagoner resident.


Austin Film Festival 2018, Oct. 25 - Nov. 1. Tickets and info at austinfilmfestival.com.

Find more of our AFF coverage, including news, reviews, and interviews, at austinchronicle.com/AFF.

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