‘Chasing Sarasota’ Now On YouTube: A Q&A With Director Matt Mastrantuono

The ultimate documentary celebrates its fifth year anniversary today.

Today marks the five year anniversary of the premiere of Chasing Sarasota, a feature length documentary about the 2011 Portland Rhino team. Director, editor, and producer Matt Mastrantuono has decided to release the film on YouTube, where it will remain freely available to watch for anyone interested.

I talked with Mastrantuono about the movie and what he’s up to now.

June 28th marks the five year anniversary of the film. How has the movie progressed since then?

I think what’s been interesting for me is that the way that it lives as a time capsule for me and the people who made it. And it was a really special time in my life. It was the first time that I ever made a movie. It was at a time when ultimate was my entire world. It was everything that I did; it was my favorite thing in the world.

Having that memory, having that documentation of what that period in my life was like as a frisbee player, as a filmmaker, as a time that I spent with 27 of my best friends. It’s something that I still look back on fondly. It’s something that I still talk about with the guys from time to time. And it’s still something that gets brought up to me by members of the community.

It’s really just wild to think that this crazy thing that I did — quitting my job and making a movie about my frisbee team — launched me into the career that I have now. I look at things I’m doing now professionally and it kind of all comes back to this movie.

Why are you releasing it for free on YouTube?

I did what I wanted to do with the movie. The community supported it so much when I released it and it paid for me to live for a year. I traveled around the world, showing the movie to people and people paid for tickets and for DVDs and for everything. I couldn’t have had a better run with the film, and, at this point, I want as many people to see it as possible. And I want it to live as a community resource and just be something that people can watch to either get a feel for the game, to get involved in the story, to have something to pump them up the night before a big tournament. I just feel like at this point that the community has been so good to me that I want to give it to them for free forever.

Chasing Sarasota was not the first documentary made about ultimate, but maybe it was the first professionally put together full length feature. What do you hope the legacy of the movie is?

I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m super invested in the legacy because it’s not really mine to determine. I think that whatever it ends up meaning to people or the community is fine by me. I tried to make the best film that I could and tell a story about the team that I care about: my best friends and a really special period of my life. And however the community at large decides to view that in the timeline of frisbee history is up to them.

What are you working on now? Can people expect you to do any more film work in ultimate?

Now I’m a director/producer. I got out of the freelance world; I’d been doing that for the last five years. I work with a company in Portland and create short films and commercials. I seem to poke my head into frisbee filmmaking from time to time. I did Flatball Radio, which is a little more live storytelling. I did those short films for CBS Sports for the WFDF [WUGC 2016] broadcast. I seem to come in and out of that, but most of my energy is definitely focused on telling stories and creating films outside of frisbee.

So I never say never. I won’t close the door because frisbee has given me so many awesome opportunities to tell cool stories and go to cool places. But I don’t currently have any plans for any other ultimate stories.

What else should we know about this film?

One interesting thing that happened to me today was that I was trying to get the file prepped and getting ready to make sure I had everything I needed for the YouTube upload. I had the final file — I hadn’t watched the movie in years. So I was scrubbing through and making sure the file looked good. I don’t know…I started seeing parts of the story not that I forgot that were there but parts of the movie that was like, ‘Oh that was a scene that I did!’ Or ‘Oh, that was a scene that took me a while to put together.’

And of all the 90 minutes, one of the ones that I stopped and watched was the camping scene, where it was all of us after a double practice and we went out camping as a team as a little bonding weekend trip. And it was the best, man! You think about those moments in your life and it’s just really telling that after all these things are said and done — all the track workouts, all the practices, all the tournaments — one of the places that I stopped and wanted to watch the whole scene was the moments that I was kicking it with my friends.

I think it gets at the heart of the reasons we all play ultimate.

You can watch the full movie below:

Ultimate Frisbee Documentary Chasing Sarasota Available On YouTube

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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