Havana Curveball: Speaking the universal language of baseball

Posted December 24th, 2014 by Tom Owens and filed in Havana Curveball, Ken Schneider, Marcia Jarmel
Look at the early Christmas present my e-mail contained!

“December 23, 2014
Dear Havana Curveball friends and supporters,

As 2014 draws to a close we are amazed at the synchronicity of the release of  Havana Curveball. Little did Ken know, when he got on a plane for our Latin American premiere at the Havana Film Festival that he’d witness the historic opening between the U.S. and Cuba. And to top it off, he was scheduled to share our film the very night of Obama and Castro’s announcement with a group of Cuba artists, filmmakers, academics and others. The response was overwhelming. Here’s ABC news’ interview with Ken the morning after his return: 

When the end credits rolled, there was great emotion and some tears in the room. He heard loud and clear that our little story of an American teen, dreaming of sharing the game he loves (baseball, of course) with Cuban teens, and the drama of his squaring this dream with the messy political reality created by grown ups, had great resonance. The kudos to the film gave great satisfaction, but even more, the invitation to return to screen the film to audiences throughout the island, in towns and cities, to groups of artists and students and families confirmed what we believe deeply, that art heals, that stories speak universally, that open communication speaks volumes.”

The note is signed by the creative duo behind the documentary, Ken Schneider and Marcia Jarmel.

Let me try again to say what I felt when I first discovered and wrote about this uplifting documentary:

This is bigger than politics. This is baseball!

Baseball is a universal language, one that can be shared with any age in any country. Baseball builds bridges.

Whether you’re writing for autographs, or want to contact someone for a story from baseball’s past, realize the power of the subject. Baseball connects us. In every letter, I want the recipient to know one thing:

I believe in baseball.

Also, I believe in Havana Curveball. The documentary is showing throughout America. Find a screening here.

Thank you for another great year in blogdom. See you in January!


‘Got Balz?’ Update + Cuban Baseball Autographs

Posted May 20th, 2012 by Tom Owens and filed in Got Balz, Ken Schneider, Marcia Jarmel, PatchWorks Films, Yonder Martinez
(Photo copyright and courtesy of Patchworks Films)

I’m pleased to say that last week’s appeal to help fund Got Balz? made a difference. Patchworks Films met their $40,000 fundraising goal, thanks to you.

Part of my fascination in the upcoming documentary is in Cuban baseball. The team’s roster is filled with major league-quality talent. Ironically, few people in America might know who these gifted players are.

I asked filmmaker Marcia Jarmel about one picture on their website, as well as what autographing she saw in Cuba.

“Our boys are Jaden Jarmel-Schneider (the 11 year old) and Mica Jarmel-Schneider (the 15 year old).  The player [signing] is Yonder Martinez, one of Cuba’s best pitchers.

“From what I observed as we filmed in the dugout before the playoff game, the players seemed to see our boys as fans, not American fans. They were happy to sign and accept “buen suerte” (good luck!).”

Also, I wanted to know if we’d see any known baseball faces in the documentary.

“The film itself features Cuban greats, but not any U.S. players, but we are hoping we might still get some U.S. players involved with the project.  We shall see if any of the irons we have in the fire pan out.

With the funding we’ve garnered so far, Ken [husband and partner Ken Schneider] and I will be able to finish editing the film this summer. There is still a need for support to cover the final lab work and to pay for music rights for the fabulous sound track we’re planning. So absolutely, people can still get involved.  For anyone interested, the can go directly to our website and donate there: www.gotbalzfilm.info.”

Coming Wednesday: Pitcher Pat Neshek talks autographs and cards!

Al Rosen Autographs For A Cause

Rosen has retained that
crisp, tight autograph!

Here’s a bit of “breaking news” from filmmaker Marcia Jarmel at PatchWorks Films.

“I saw your blogpost and thought you might be interested in our current film project (Got Balz?), which tells a different kind of baseball story: http://kck.st/gotbalz. I thought some of your readers might be interested in the Hebrew Hammer “Al Rosen” signed baseballs we are giving to the project’s backers.”

There’s much more than Rosen baseballs available. Jarmel and partner Ken Schneider have great autographs and other baseball memorabilia available to those who’ll help make their film into a reality.

Check out their www.kickstarter.org page. Their funding deadline is Wednesday. When I wrote this, they were less than $800 away from reaching their goal (with just 23 hours remaining). A documentary film about a 13-year-old American wanting to help Cubans get needed baseball equipment? I’m in! I hope you might be, too. Every dollar matters.