, 2022-08-10 02:00:00,
Pierce’s drive for a sixth world title is just a backbone for the film.
August 10, 2022 by Matt Thompson in Review with comments
Early in Fierce, Jeremy Koling says, “I have never seen another group of people talk about their thing the way that disc golfers talk about our thing.”
To my mind, Koling is correct in his estimation of how disc golfers feel; the sincerity in his voice is evident, but in an odd way, this sense of ownership is what holds back much disc golf content. Insularity defines the most popular disc golf media, most noticeably the beloved commentary team of which Koling is an integral part. The goofy trio often glides along through eighteen holes on cascades of in-jokes and commentary gleaned from their own time on the course that weekend. It’s inarguably disc golf’s most beloved media product at the moment, and they should not be begrudged for their success, but it is into this chummy environment that all new disc golf media is thrown, measured against, and must ultimately try to escape from.
Wilson Hansen’s visually-arresting documentary Fierce is not catered to the disc golf community, as is made abundantly clear by the film’s early running time’s devotion to explaining what disc golf is and why the viewer should care about it, as well as the continuing explanations throughout its runtime of what is and isn’t important in a disc golf season, career, and life. It is an awkward, shoehorned aspect of a film that is primarily about the 2021 touring season of Paige Pierce. The transitions are gamely narrated by pro soccer great Carli Lloyd but hard to miss. The film seems to understand its own precarious situation within the distribution landscape. According to Pierce, the current distribution model via the Disc Golf Network is a stopgap solution:
This limited showing on Disc Golf Network is a critical step next in the process of achieving mainstream distribution for the documentary…The goal right now is to show that the disc golf community is hungry for this kind of story and that the film would do well with a wider audience.
Her statement shows the herculean task the film has in front of it: achieve enough success with the immediate community to attract the interest of larger distribution partners, while also having broad appeal outside of the disc golf world. It’s a lot to ask of a single film.
The need to do too much isn’t a new challenge for those trying to market…
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