• BY Andrew Cohn & Davy Rothbart |
    Premiered March 31, 2014

About the Film

In Indiana, where life revolves around high school basketball, what happens to a community when their beloved team can no longer win a single game? Medora follows the down-but-not-out Medora Hornets varsity basketball team over the course of the 2011 season, capturing their stories both on and off the court. Riding a brutal losing streak when the film begins, the team’s struggle to compete bears eerie resemblance to the town’s fight for survival. MORE

An in-depth, deeply personal look at small town life, Medora is both an underdog basketball story and an inspiring tale of a community refusing to give up hope despite the brutal odds stacked against them.

Years ago, Medora was a booming rural community with a thriving middle class. But the factories and farms have closed and the population has dwindled. Filmmakers Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart traveled to the tiny town after reading a 2009 story in The New York Times about the struggles of the basketball team. The next fall, with the blessing of Medora High School and the local community, they began to document a year in the life of some of the players and coaches.

The Hornets’ three coaches are all volunteers who hold down full-time jobs as a cop, a preacher, and a stonecutter. Rusty Rogers, the six-foot, five-inch center, is virtually homeless due to his mother’s problems with alcohol, and lives with point guard Zach Fish in public housing. Shooting guard Dylan McSoley wonders whether he should reach out to his dad, a man he’s never met who lives in the next town over. Robby Armstrong, a farmer’s son, wants to be the first in his family to complete high school, while Chaz Cowles, arrested on a gun charge, does his best to stay out of trouble with the law.

While the film follows this particular team in this particular place, ultimately Medora is a film about America, and the thousands of small towns across the country facing the same fight. As one resident observes, “Once we lose these small towns, we can’t get them back.”

The Filmmakers

Andrew Cohn, Director/Producer

Andrew Cohn is a screenwriter and documentary filmmaker originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan. His first feature-length film Medora premiered at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival and aired on Independent Lens in 2014. He is also the creator and producer of the off-Broadway play FOUND: People Find Stuff. Now It’s a Show. In 2009, he directed the documentary-short Dynamic Tom which was featured on McSweeney's Wholphin No. 12 DVD of short films. He has directed material for Comedy Central, Fuse, and most recently, ESPN Films' 30 for 30 series.

Davy Rothbart, Director/Producer

Rothbart is the creator of Found Magazine, a frequent contributor to public radio's This American Life, and the author of a book of personal essays, My Heart Is an Idiot, and a collection of stories, The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas. He writes regularly for GQ Magazine and, and his work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Believer. He co-directed the music documentary Rise Against: Generation Lost. Rothbart is also the founder of Washington II Washington, an annual hiking adventure for inner-city kids. He lives between Los Angeles, California, and his hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Film Credits

A Film by
Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart

Executive Producers
Stanley Tucci
Steve Buscemi
Wren Arthur

Executive Producers
Michael B. Clark
Tim Foley
Alex Turtletaub

Vanessa Roworth
Mary Manhardt

Director of Photography
Rachael Counce

Produced by
Rachel Dengiz

Directed & Produced by
Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart

Rachael Counce

Original Score by
Bobby Emmett and Patrick Keeler

Music Supervisor
Jeremy Peters

Assistant Director
Rachael Counce

Post-Production Supervisor
Dan Genetti

2nd Unit Cinematographers
Peter Leix
Mike Smith
Zachary Nischan Shields

Additional Camera
Andrew Cohn
Davy Rothbart
Rachel Dengiz
Ellyn Church
Andrea Lewis

Still photographers
Peter Leix
Dan Busta
Ryan Schude

Andrew Cohn

Associate Editor
Kate Bennis

Additional Editor
Bo Mehrad

Assistant Editors
Adam Oelsner
Matt Schaff
Linda Powell

Associate Producers
Ellyn Church
Morgan English
Andrea Lewis
David Yosha
Marcus Cohlan

Production Assistant
Dana Vaughn

Additional Score
Mickey Alexander and Adam Rubenstein

Associate Music Supervisor
Jeff Augustyn

Graphics and Title Design
Tavet Gillson

Additional Graphics
Trent Bryant
Tucker Phillips

Supervising Sound Editor and Recording Mixer
Ryan M. Price

Sound Effects Editor
Sebastian Henshaw

Mixed at Fall On Your Swords Studios

Digital Intermediate by

DI Colorist
Anthony Raffaele

DI Producer
Molle DeBartolo

Production Legal Services Provided by
Jackie Eckhouse

Legal Clearances
Donaldson & Callif

Original Score Recorded at

Archival Footage Courtesy of
Jim Eglen Fish Family


"The Ragged Sea"
By Alexi Murdoch
Performed by Alexi Murdoch
Published by Mind Blue Music (ASCAP)

"His Eye Is on the Sparrow"
By Civilla D. Martin & Charles H. Gabriel
Performed by the Congregation of Medora Christian Church

"Angel Hymn"
"Shaking Ghosts"
"There Is Nothing Left For Us In This Place"
"Almost Home"
By Joe LaPaglia
Performed by Joe LaPaglia
Published by Joe LaPaglia (BMI)

"Indiana, Our Indiana"
By Karl King, arr. Russell P. Harker
Performed by the Indiana University Marching Hundred

“Shadow of Love”
“Never Take Me Alive”
“Wild Blood”
By Bobby Emmett
Performed by Bobby Emmett
Published by Bobby Bird Dog Music (ASCAP)

"Jingle Bells"
By James Lord Pierpont
Performed by the Medora High School Pep Band

"Indiana, Our Indiana"
By Karl King, arr. Russell P. Harker
Performed by Medora High School Band

"Encoded Flow feat. Kadence”
By Dabrye
Written by Tadd Mullinex
Lyrics by Brandon Mitchell
Published by The Ghostly International
Company (ASCAP)
Licensed Courtesy Ghostly International

"Moment to Myself (Instrumental)
By Harlan Silverman
Performed by Harlan
Published by Harlan Silverman Publishing (ASCAP)

"Love Is Strong"
By Matthew Hartman and Michael E. Donovan
Performed by Sic Alps
Published by Flower of Evil (ASCAP)

"The Real World"
"Strawflowers Waltz"
By Christian Phillip Bathgate
Performed by Chris Bathgate
Published by Silence is for Publishing (ASCAP)

"Louder Off the Powder"
By Vaughn Taormina
Performed by COUNT MACK
Published by Copyright Control

“Even Keel”
By Patrick Keeler, Steve Gorman, and Joe Costa
Performed by Patrick Keeler and Steve Gorman
Published by Each Hit Below Me (BMI)

"Pomp & Circumstance Military Marches, Op. 39; No. 1 in D"
By Sir Edward Elgar
Performed by the Medora High School Band

"Small Town"
By Joel Boyles and Peter Berghoef
Performed by The Press Delete
Published by Copyright Control

Special Thanks
The Medora Hornets Players, Coaches, Friends and Families,
for their participation, access and stories.
Amy Alexander
Bedforn Police Department
Kate Betuel
Robb Bindler
Margaret Box
Barbara Brodsky
Bundy Brothers & Son
Kristi Templeton Clark
Betty Cohn
Jack Counce
Kenneth Counce
Sonya Counce
Maureen Curran
Alan and Lisa Dengiz
Enrique Figueredo
Brian Gilbreath
Jacob Gray
HCSN Radio
Indiana Limestone Company
Tony Lipp
The Major Family
Medora Christian Church
Emily and Jon Naylor
Erin Owens
Beatka Pechar
David Pechar
The Perry Street Tavern
Jenn Plante
Harold Rothbart
Alexis Roworth
Wendy and John Roworth
Jessica Sanders
George Sheanshang
Lee Stollman
Todd Stopera
Travelodge Motel Seymour
Brianne Turtletaub
Butch Walker
The Walkup Family
Ivy Walkup
Frank Warren
Chuck Westover
Aviva Wishnow
Staci Wolfe

Production Support Provided by ITVS

Funding Provided by
Brian Gilman
Jim Hicks
Ryan G. Burcham
Dave Andress
Dennis and Judy Donahue
Barney Douglas
Elizabeth Ellen
Steve Fenwick
Stephen French
Suzanne Hooper
Morgane Lhote
Travis Merrill
Jack Sichterman
Darin Wolfe
And others. A complete list is available from PBS.

Medora was produced by Beachside Films, LLC in association with Olive Productions and Seven34 Films.

This program was produced by Beachside Films, LLC which is solely responsible for its content.

Copyright © 2013 Beachside Films, LLC. All rights reserved.

Tell us about your own small town’s struggles or a team that couldn’t win. How do you keep going when all seems bleak?
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Tell us about your own small town’s struggles or a team that couldn’t win. How do you keep going when all seems bleak?