June 2021 Showcased the winner of BEST SPORTS FEATURE DOCUMENTARY.
1ST YEAR CHECKING, 80min., USA, Sport Documentary
Directed by Michael Messner
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
1st Year Checking documents the life of my son Grayson, a 12 year old hockey player as he goes into the dangerous and unknown world of check hockey.
After coaching a team in their first year of check hockey, I was fascinated how a game that kids love with their entire hearts changes over night to a game where there is fear, violence and severe injuries. As the coach, it was my job to turn 12 year old’s into men.
Director Biography – Michael Messner
Michael Messner has been directing and producing for over 25 years. He is a partner at the Pittsburgh based, Awesome Films. He has won regional Emmys including Best Director in the Mid-Atlantic, Sunshine, and New York chapters for his collegiate sports television shows.
He and his partner Barry Reese were Executive Producers on Alex Gibney’s film, The Last Gladiators.
Michael played hockey at Penn State and received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016.