The release of the documentary film “Ballplayer: Pelotero” last summer was notable on multiple fronts. It followed two Dominican standouts — including prized Twins prospect Miguel Sano — for a year in 2009 leading up to their MLB signing day, when Sano landed a $3.15 million deal with the Twins. It also upset the MLB apple cart by addressing questions of age and identity fraud.
But while that story was fascinating in and of itself and had a definite endpoint with Sano signing a contract with the Twins, that was not, obviously, the end of his journey.
Filmmakers Jon Paley, Ross Finkel and Trevor Martin have kept cameras rolling on Sano for much of his early minor league career as well in hopes of producing a sequel to the documentary.
“One of the biggest challenges in making a documentary film is to say, ‘We’re wrapped,’ ” Paley said. “The first film led to this second film.”
Paley and Co. have financed much of the project on their own. In March, they turned to a popular online fundraising mechanism called Kickstarter for help. Their goal was to reach $25,000 in donations in a month; with a little more than a week left in the campaign, they have already eclipsed that and are now trying to reach $45,000. Those who donate get rewards such as copies of the film when it comes out or autographed Sano merchandise.
“Kickstarter has become a powerful tool for filmmakers,” Paley said. “More importantly it’s a fascinating tool to engage audience. It’s a way to say to people who want to see the movie made and want to watch it in three years, ‘Hey, help us make this happen.’ ”
Sano, whose powerful swing makes him one of the top prospects in all of baseball, is playing for the Twins’ top Class A team in Fort Myers this year. Paley and his crew are heading there Monday to continue filming. The goal is to follow Sano until he hopefully reaches the majors, whenever that might be.
“It’s really up to the Twins and Miguel and how he does,” Paley said. “We are in this for the long haul. We’ve been doing this for four years already. We’re interested in making something special here.”