Miami football fans and film lovers alike can experience a long-hidden slice of local history at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, as the Miami International Film Festival (MIFF) hosts the first-ever, local theatrical screening of the 1962 black-and-white documentary Mooney vs. Fowle, an account of the historic Orange Bowl showdown between perennial rivals Miami and Edison senior high schools for the state high school football championships. Legendary Miami High Coach Ottis Mooney, quarterbacks Jerry Pearson (Miami High)and Pete Kiernan (Edison), and director James Lipscomb are scheduled to attend the “From the Vault” special screening and panel discussion, to be held at the University of Miami’s Bill Cosford Cinema. MIFF is produced and presented annually by Miami Dade College.
Before Friday Night Lights there was Mooney vs. Fowle, the pioneering, behind-the-scenes look at the now-historic 1961 Florida state high school championship game between perennial rivals Miami and Edison senior high schools. This marvel of cinéma vérité documentary filmmaking is a candid and uncensored portrait of rival coaches Ottis Mooney of Miami High (the underdogs) and Haywood Fowle of Edison (the favorites), who led their teams before a record crowd of 37,000 at the Orange Bowl. Long a favorite of film historians, the film is a collaboration between Miami High alumnus and LIFE Magazine editor-turned-filmmaker James Lipscomb and the legendary Robert Drew of Drew Associates, another LIFE Magazine editor-turned-filmmaker, who, in the 1960s, revolutionized reality television through his accounts of John F. Kennedy on the campaign trail (Primary) and inside the White House (Crisis). This unscripted look at the passions behind high school football stirred controversy at the time with the county School Board and was never broadcast on local television or released in local theaters. Today it endures as a remarkable document of film history and Miami lore.
Screening: Wednesday, March 9 at 7:00 p.m., Bill Cosford Cinema, University of Miami, 1111 Memorial Drive, Second Floor, Memorial Building, Coral Gables. (A limited number of complimentary tickets are available for accredited and approved media. Contact MIFF publicists for details. To purchase tickets, check miamifilmfestival.com or TicketMaster for availability.)
Free, Post-screening Panel Discussion: Wednesday, March 9 at 8:00 p.m., Bill Cosford Cinema, University of Miami, 1111 Memorial Drive, Second Floor, Memorial Building, Coral Gables. (Only accredited and approved media will be admitted.)
Scheduled Participants: Director James Lipscomb; former Miami High Coach Ottis Mooney; Jerry Pearson, former Miami High quarterback who played for Mooney; Phil Tedder, former Edison High assistant coach under Coach Haywood Fowle; Pete Kiernan, former Edison High quarterback who played for Fowle;NBC6 Sports Anchors Adam Kuperstein and Joe Rose, formerly of the Miami Dolphins; and, Thom Powers, MIFF’s lead programmer for documentary films. (Subject to change.)