Imagine that you've dedicated your life to basketball.
Imagine that you've been chosen to represent your country at the Olympic Games.
Imagine that you've been named team captain.
Imagine that you win a gold medal.
And then you get home and discover that it was all a lie, an act of fraud that you were incapable of discovering.
This is what happened to Ramón Torres (Ray) at the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney.
The Spanish intellectually disabled basketball team crushed their opponents and, not long after, it was revealed that 10 out of 12 of the players on the team didn't have any level of disability.
An international scandal of massive proportions that put an end to inclusive sports. Now, 18 years later, basketball for intellectually disabled players is still excluded as a Paralympic sport.
The film delves into the fraud through the eyes of Ray and his life over a period of five years, since the resolution of the 2013 trial. His way of making sense of the scandal and his relationship with basketball, comprise an in-depth portrait of a man that is both tough and charming at the same time.
What does it mean to live in a society that doesn't understand you and that you yourself are incapable of understanding? What’s it like to live in a world that thinks of you as “stupid”?
King Ray is a film about borderline intellectual disability. A borderline that is enough for him to be aware of his own disability and painful aspects of how the world works.
Ray was the best basketball player in Spain in his category and the leader of an emblematic sports’ club, Aderes Burjassot. Both team and player were the inspiration for the film Campeones, by Javier Fesser, currently a blockbuster in Spanish theaters.
However, Ray’s day to day life is far from successful. Ray represents a large part of this collective – that of borderline intellectual disability – that is often overlooked or rejected by society.
KING RAY is about disability; without avoiding conflict and the darkest aspects of his reality, without patronizing and without melodramas, because Ray’s a tough guy and some of it has rubbed off on us.
AN ATYPICAL DOCUMENTARY.
King Ray is truly a hybrid film that brings together elements of a thriller and a performative documentary. Comical and journalistic scenes mingle with sequences of contained drama in a complex construction that eventually yields a portrait of intellectual disability.
King Ray is also an uncomfortable documentary. The most serious scandal in the history of Spanish sports has received a conspicuously small amount of attention over the past 18 years. The majority of the institutions affected or implicated in the fraud, as well as the defendants from the trial, refused to participate in the project.
The fact that our film is not a particularly “nice” one, has also made financing it a challenge.
KING RAY is the project of two small production companies: BIDIMENSIONAL which was created expressly for this film, and TOURMALET FILMS, an independent producer that we've collaborated with on various occasions and which has already made several good films.
We received a 7,000-euro regional grant from the Junta de Andalucía, but we need more than this if KING RAY is to be an economically viable project.
Any money raised will be used to pay for:
RIGHTS FOR ARCHIVED MATERIAL. (5,000€) The licenses for archived material are extremely expensive, and make no distinction between a Hollywood movie and a small film like ours. We need photographs, images from news broadcasts, and images from the matches played at the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games. The 5,000 euros won't completely cover this expense, but it will be a big help.
BASKETBALL COACHING COURSE. We want Ray to keep his connection with basketball. He’s 45 years-old now and not exactly in the same shape as Ginobili. We would like him to take the coaching course for the intellectually disabled (220€), and will donate any extra funds to the association where he currently plays (Club Unitts), so that he can work there part-time.
REWARDS AND PERCENTAGE FOR VERKAMI (2,480€). One part of the donations will be destined to the production and distribution of the rewards that we’ve created specifically for the occasion: a limited edition series of bags, hats, and buttons designed by Pitblackbeard. Another portion of the money will go to pay for the logical percentage that Verkami obtains for launching this crowdfunding campaign on its platform (577.67€).
Director: SERGIO ROMERO CASTAÑO
Director of Photography: DIEGO BARRERO MIELGO
Editor: JUAN CARRASCAL-YNIGO
Music composer: ANTONIO FERNÁNDEZ RUIZ
Sound editing: SERGIO GONZÁLEZ
Sound mixing: TAREK HAMDAN
Production: ALEJANDRA P. DE LA VEGA, MAYI GUTIÉRREZ, JAIME CRUZ.
SERGIO ROMERO CASTAÑO - DIRECTOR
He studied film at the Escuela de Cine de la Comunidad de Madrid (ECAM). He works as a writer and screenwriter for television programs specializing in international trade (Conecta con el Mercado, El Exportador); he forms part of Trapper John, an independent producer of fictional short films and documentaries: The latest offensive (Juan Carrascal-Ynigo) and Los Materiales (Colectivo Los hijos). His first contact with intellectual disability was the documentary short film Amor al can (2009), for which he received a special mention at Notodofilmfest.
He began filming his debut feature film, King Ray, in 2014.
“Of all the frauds Made in Spain,” the hoax in Sydney is perhaps the stupidest and most heartless: pretending to be disabled to participate in the Paralympics... and winning the gold medal... An insane idea, yet a real one. The picaresque Spain of the 21st century. Even so, seeing things from Ray’s point of view and his way of understanding the fraud and everything around him, seemed more interesting to me than telling the story of the scandal itself. Because by letting him express himself, not only are we discussing the farce, but also grasping its seriousness and depicting the reality of a person with borderline intellectual disability – one person who represents many others out there.”
TOURMALET FILMS - COPRODUCER
Founded in 2011, Tourmalet Films is a production company with a solid reputation in independent filmmaking in Spain. It boasts an extensive filmography that includes both short and feature films that have been successful with critics and audiences alike. They include:
- El fracaso (2016) by Daniel Remón.
- La selva inflada (2015) by Alejandro Naranjo
- Paradiso (2014) by Omar A. Razzak.
- Todo un futuro juntos (2014) by Pablo Remón.
- Stockholm (2013) by Rodrigo Sorogoyen.
The documentary has already been shot and we have also completed the majority of postproduction, meaning that the hard part is over. But we still have to deal with the most expensive part of the process: paying the licenses for the archived material and the non-original music. This is an absolutely essential element that will make it possible to finish the project and distribute the film worldwide.
King Ray will be ready in June 2018, and will premier during the year.
The physical rewards will be sent out one month after the crowdfunding period has concluded. The link on Vimeo to the documentary will be given out once the film has premiered. This date is still up in the air... so STAY TUNED!
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