The hot ticket at the local movie theater this weekend is not a Hollywood blockbuster, but rather a film about Manhattan itself.
The premiere of a new documentary, “Miracle in Manhattan,” about Bill Snyder’s turnaround of the K-State football program, is already sold out, filmmaker Dan Youngman said. The 55-minute piece is narrated by “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe, and it includes interviews with Snyder, as well as former assistants such as Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops and Arkansas’ Mike Smith.
Youngman, a 2007 K-State graduate from Topeka, is a lifelong Wildcat fan. He said his aim was to make the movie he wanted to see.
“I knew that I felt that I had the ability to make it, so I did,” he said. “That’s really kind of what it came down to.”
Youngman graduated in finance but then left Kansas to become a TV producer in Los Angeles. His most recent job was as a production coordinator for a show on CNN called “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” for which Rowe was the host.
As the show was wrapping, Youngman said he approached Rowe with a “sizzle reel,” a promotional video clip for the project, on his phone. At the end, Youngman said Rowe looked up and said “What can I do?”
Youngman asked him to narrate the documentary, and Rowe agreed.
“I think that created a lot of enthusiasm and made people probably a little more willing to talk to me once he was attached,” Youngman said.
Rowe posted about the movie recently on his website.
“I know the story, and I was happy to narrate the film,” he wrote. “Because as far as I’m concerned, the man who turned it around should be a household word. What Bill Snyder did was completely transform a team, and quite possibly save the university. How he did it is a study in leadership, patience, discipline and true grit.”
Youngman said he began gathering information for the project about 2 1/2 years ago. He did his own research and unearthed old video clips, trying to find devices in which to play them and ways to get them into a modern format. “I interviewed Coach Snyder, which was an honor and a thrill,” he said. Youngman and his director of photography, Manhattan filmmaker Blade Mages, also went to Oklahoma and Arkansas to speak to Snyder’s former assistants Bob Stoops and Mike Smith. The film is in the style of ESPN’s “30 for 30” series, Youngman said.
“What I want from this is that K-State people, and really people in the entire state of Kansas, will have a sense of pride to have something to be able to point to and say, ‘Watch this, this is what I’m talking about.’” The film will show at 7:45p.m. Saturday in two theaters at AMC Dine-In Manhattan 13 at Manhattan Town Center. Tickets are completely sold out, but Youngman said he hopes to find other places to show it.
“Unfortunately it’s a weekend, can only rent out so many theaters,” he said. “We couldn’t get a third. At a bare minimum, it will be online… After this weekend, I’ll start reaching out to people. I think it would be cool to take it around and do screenings for alumni groups.”