Most Valuable Players (film)

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Most Valuable Players
Directed by Matthew D. Kallis
Produced by Matthew D. Kallis
Christopher Lockhart
Written by Christopher Lockhart
Starring Ali Mosser
Jennifer Wescoe
Katie Wexler
Zachary Gibson
Frank Anonia
Amanda Kostalis
John Andreadis
Music by Randy Miller
Cinematography Curt Apduhan
Edited by Zack Braff
Canyonback Films
Release date
  • August 6, 2010 (2010-08-06) (IDA Docuweek)
Running time
95 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Most Valuable Players is a 2010 documentary film directed/produced by Matthew D. Kallis and written/produced by Christopher Lockhart, about The Freddy Awards, an annual awards ceremony recognizing outstanding high school musical theatre in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.[1] Lockhart was inspired to make the film after watching clips of a Freddy Awards production on YouTube.

The film appeared in the International Documentary Association's DocuWeeks showcase in August 2010, as well as the Mill Valley Film Festival in California.

In 2010, The Oprah Winfrey Network acquired the broadcast and video rights to the film.


The film documents the 2008 ceremony for the annual award program, which is held every year at the State Theatre, Easton, Pennsylvania.[2]


Most Valuable Players, a Canyonback Films production, is directed/produced by Matthew D. Kallis and written/produced by Christopher Lockhart. It was Lockhart's first documentary and, although Kallis had directed documentaries in the past, he had never done one to this scale.[3] The film was conceived when Lockhart found a clip of the 2006 ceremony on YouTube while searching for something unrelated.[3] Lockhart was impressed with the production values and performance caliber, and took the idea to Kallis, who agreed to partner with him for a documentary.[4]

Five students prominently featured in Most Valuable Players: (from left to right) Katie Wexler, Ali Mosser, John Andreadis, Amanda Kostalis and Daniel Youngelman.

Kallis and Lockhart acquired over 300 hours of source material over four months, starting with 2008 high school rehearsals all the way up to the State Theatre ceremony on May 22, 2008.[2][5] In addition to the event itself, the footage includes filming behind-the-scenes at production meetings, interviews with students and teachers, rehearsals at participating high schools, and the announcement of Freddy Award nominations.[4] Cinematographer Curt Apduhan, who won an Emmy for the 2003 documentary "Amargosa", served as Director of Photography. Ken King, winner of two Emmy Awards and nominated for a BAFTA for his work on the film Pulp Fiction, served as production sound mixer. 40 minutes of an original score was composed by Randy Miller.[3]

Most Valuable Players runs 95 minutes long. The original working title was Freddy Fever but was abandoned.[2] Lockhart said the new title demonstrates an analogy between sports and arts, adding, "In a way this plays like a sports documentary."[3] The film focuses primarily on three schools: Emmaus High School in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, Parkland High School in Allentown, and Freedom High School in Bethlehem.[6] By coincidence, both Emmaus and Parkland were presenting the musical Les Misérables the year Most Valuable Players was filmed, and the competition that arose made for one of the film's main conflicts.[3]

The documentary originally included a ghosthunting sequence dealing with the urban legend of J. "Fred" Osterstock, for whom the Freddy Awards are named. Osterstock died in 1957, and the legend claims he still haunts the theater.[3]


  • Ali Mosser
  • Jennifer Wescoe
  • Katie Wexler
  • Zachary Gibson
  • Frank Anonia
  • Amanda Kostalis
  • John Andreadis
  • Jill Kuebler
  • Rita Cortez
  • Vic Kumma
  • Shelley Brown
  • Mark Stutz


The first public exhibition of the film was on April 16, 2010, at the State Theatre in Easton.[7] The film made its theatrical debut in New York City at the IFC Center and in Los Angeles at the ArcLight Hollywood, running from August 6, 2010 through August 19, 2010 as part of the DocuWeeks showcase sponsored by the International Documentary Association.[8] Most Valuable Players made its festival debut at the Mill Valley Film Festival in California in October 2010.[9] Other festivals in 2011 included the St. Louis International Film Festival, Chicago International Children's Film Festival, Dallas International Film Festival, Sprockets: Toronto International Film Festival, and the Nashville Film Festival, where it won the "Documentary Channel Audience Award."[10]

In November 2010, the Oprah Winfrey Network announced it had acquired the rights for Most Valuable Players and planned to screen it as part of a monthly "documentary club" on the new cable network helmed by talk show host and billionaire Oprah Winfrey.[11] The network, which is expected to have a viewership of about 80 million viewers, premiered the film on September 8, 2011.[12][13] The screening will include interactive components and additional online material, including footage cut from the original film. Winfrey's name and her company will be added to the film's credits,[14] and Winfrey's company will also handle DVD distribution of Most Valuable Players.[13]


  1. ^ "About the FREDDY's". Archived from the original on 2010-03-26. Retrieved 2010-04-14. 
  2. ^ a b c McEvoy, Colin (January 25, 2010). "Freddy stars to shine again soon, filmmakers say". The Express-Times. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Lauer-Williams, Kathy (April 11, 2010). "Freddys on film". Chicago Tribune. The Morning Call. Retrieved April 13, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Kalan, Susan (18 May 2008). "From stage to screen". The Express-Times. p. M1. 
  5. ^ Callahan, Marion (May 23, 2008). "Lights, camera, Freddys ** High school performers win awards, while documentary crew films it all". The Morning Call. p. B1. 
  6. ^ McEvoy, Colin (March 28, 2010). "New trailer for Freddy Awards documentary film "Most Valuable Players"". The Express-Times. 
  7. ^ Schoof, Dustin (24 March 2010). "Pre-screening party added to 'Most Valuable Players' premiere at State Theatre". Express-Times. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  8. ^ McEvoy, Colin (July 12, 2010). "Freddy Awards documentary 'Most Valuable Players' to be featured in prestigious DocuWeeks festival". The Express-Times. Retrieved September 2, 2010. 
  9. ^ Strauss, Valerie (November 9, 2010). "Antidote to an educator's depression". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  10. ^ Paulson, Dave (22 April 2011). Template:The Tennessean Retrieved 26 April 2011.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ Villarreal, Yvonne (November 15, 2010). "OWN acquires three documentaries". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  12. ^ Cummins, Emily (July 22, 2011). "Freddy Awards documentary to premiere on Oprah Winfrey Network" Retrieved September 5th, 2011.
  13. ^ a b McEvoy, Colin (November 17, 2010). "Freddy Awards documentary 'Most Valuable Players' chosen for Oprah Winfrey's new cable network". The Express-Times. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  14. ^ Lauer-Williams, Kathy (November 16, 2010). "Oprah to air Freddy Awards documentary". The Morning Call. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 

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