WORLD PREMIERE - 2019 Miami Film Festival
Documentary Achievement Award
After you’ve tasted glory in college football, what comes next? This film follows several former players for the Miami Hurricanes who get an unexpected chance to turn pro. Only it’s not playing football. The Magic City Casino is starting a new team of jai alai — the sport popular in Latin America and nearly extinct in the U.S. Due to an obscure Florida law, the casino needs jai alai to keep its license.
We watch the former Canes try to adapt to the very different athletics of jai alai. It resembles racquet ball, only players wear long curved baskets (cestas) on their hands to hurl a goatskin ball against the wall at speeds up to 170 mph.
To use a baseball metaphor, the players are more Bad News Bears than The Natural. But there’s a poignancy to their efforts. Filmmaker Billy Corben has a deep knowledge and affection for Miami characters, demonstrated in films from Cocaine Cowboys to The U to Screwball (also playing at the Festival). He uses the story of the Magic City team to explore our contemporary gig economy, where everyone needs a hustle. But only in Miami could you make jai alai your hustle.