The 94 minute documentary film “From the 50 Yard Line” presents the football field not only as a sports venue but also as a stage for the marching band. The viewer goes on an exciting adventure through band camp, auditions, the marching season, and the regional and national competitions in 2006. You see the great rewards of disciplined practice, the overlooked technical artistry of the group endeavor, and the important life changing effects of instrumental music education. Another layer delves into the misconceptions about marching band, showing "band nerds" in a whole new light.
The primary vehicle to tell the story is the Centerville (Ohio) High School marching band from suburban Dayton, and former Grand National Champions. Recognizing that all bands, big and small, do amazing things, the film also portrays the band at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, which has just recently started up again after being silenced for 18 years due to music budget cuts.
One wonders what music was lost forever during the silent years at schools nationwide in the same budget predicament. The film tells the memorable story of music education, complete with the never-before seen emotional aspects of the experience.
The students at the schools are wonderful subjects and their personal stories genuine and compelling. Nowhere else do you see hundreds of teenagers working together in such unison and commitment for one common goal.
The film is part music video, part reality show, part drama, and full-on entertainment.
– Robert W. Butler
Kansas City Star Newspaper