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Sapnu komanda 1935 (2012)

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A story about the Latvian basketball team, which won the first-ever European Championships in 1935 and its enthusiastic head coach Valdemars Baumanis.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Janis Amanis ...
Inga Alsina ...
Elvira Baumane
Vilis Daudzins ...
Marcis Manjakovs ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gints Andzans ...
Normunds Berzs ...
Sports Committee Official
Andris Bulis ...
Viktors Ellers ...
Peteris Gaudins ...
Sports Committee Chairman
Maris Grigalis
Billy Jeffries ...
Girts Kesteris
Arturs Kruzkops ...
...
Krisons (voice)
Martins Liepa ...
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Storyline

Geneva, Switzerland 1935. Europe is struggling to be united as one yet the Woodrow- Wilson's idea of a united Europe by the means of the League of Nations is being enforced. American missionaries since the 1920's are trying to introduce the Europeans with the new sport called basketball. The first European Championship in basketball is about to take place. The national teams are meeting each other for the first time. Each want the honor of being the first champion. Meanwhile in Latvia, the coach Baumanis is convinced that he can gather the team and take it to Geneva. However on his journey he quickly learns that triumph and defeat are a part of the game. Baumanis faces many difficulties, as well as unexpected help from those closest to him. Written by Aigars Grauba

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Their game made them a team. Their spirit made them champions.

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Comedy | Drama | History | Sport

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Release Date:

November 2012 (Latvia)  »

Also Known As:

Dream Team 1935  »

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User Reviews

 
Their game made then a team - their spirit made them champions
13 January 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

On November 19, 2012, director Aigars Grauba and producer Andrejs Ekis showcased their latest work "Dream Team 1935"in Riga, Latvia (original Latvian title: "Sapņu_komanda_1935"). In attendance at the gala screening were 600 guests, including 3 former Latvian Presidents.

Given that their earlier films have been very well received both in Latvia and abroad, the audience's expectations were high. But from the film's early moments the audience knew that "Dream Team 1935" would be a captivating, dynamic and entertaining winner, once again showing that Latvia's filmmakers can deliver a world-class offering that can compete with the best Hollywood can offer.

The film is a sports drama based upon true events. A bit of historical background: after the end of World War One, Europe is still in an uncertain phase. It is unclear whether the nations of Europe and its people will be able to co-exist in harmony. Will peace prevail or will new conflicts and misunderstanding surface, leading to renewed disputes? In this post WW1 period, organizations like the League of Nations are founded in Geneva, Switzerland and through such mechanisms the nations of Europe attempt to adhere to U.S. President Woodrow-Wilson's principles, such that in future, disputes between nation states are resolved amicably, preferably around a table. Alternatively, conflicts should be resolved not on the battlefield but on the sporting field.

In the 1920s and early 1930s, basketball was just getting known in Europe. It was brought to Europe around 1919 by American merchant sailors and representatives of the YMCA. Slowly the sport started to gain a following. But in order to attract more public attention and to prepare for the 1936 Olympics, which would include basketball for the first time as a competitive sport, FIBA, the International Basketball Federation in Geneva wanted to arrange a "dress-rehearsal" competition event amongst the leading nations in Europe. So, in early May 1935 they organized the first European Basketball Championship, called EuroBasket 1935. Every nation in Europe wanted to compete so that they could be the first champion.

Meanwhile, in Latvia there was a core of dedicated and active basketball players. The coach of the Army Sports Club team, Valdemars Baumanis, knew that Latvia could assemble a competitive team to play in the first championship games in Geneva. But to reach this goal, Baumanis had to overcome a number of hurdles, not the least being the Latvian Sports Committee who felt that any idea of Latvia playing in the games was pure fantasy. The road to Geneva for coach Baumanis and his team was not easy and even when they got their they had to encounter further bureaucratic hurdles and skepticism from many who had neither heard of Latvia or thought it would be incredulous that such a small unknown country could assemble any kind of team, let alone a competitive one.

"Dream Team 1935" is an impressive film from a number of perspectives. The film shows an unknown chapter in not only Latvia's history but also the beginnings of the evolution of basketball as a sport in Europe. From the very start of the film, you feel like you are sitting in the basketball arena, with the game unfolding right in front of you, feeling the immediate fast pace of the players' moves, their scoring shots, their efforts and frustrations, the enthusiasm of the audience in the stands. Then there is also the psychological battle coach Baumanis faces, whether dealing with the government bureaucracy in Latvia or with the international naysayers in Geneva upon his arrival there.

Historians will also find the film of interest, maybe seeing some interesting parallels with Europe today. Back in the early 1930s, the goal of many was to create a unified Europe where harmony and cooperation would prevail between all nations, and that each nation would be respected and accorded equal treatment as another. An idyllic club of equals. Everyone remembered the scars that remained after World War One and a new battle amongst nations had to be avoided at all cost. But, as we know, these efforts to unite Europe were fleeting and what followed after the 1936 Olympics was another dark period in Europe's and world history with the onset of World War Two. In 2013, some see a similar situation in Europe. Europe is going through an economic and some respects also a political crisis with respect to its identity and place in the international sphere. To remedy this, some have a vision of creating a more unified Europe, where there is much greater unity and cooperation at the economic and political level. But then there are others who feel that not all nations, big and small, can ever be seen as equal and that differences between them can never be smoothed over, that talk of a unified Europe is a bureaucratic fantasy. Time will tell if this time things are different in Europe than they were post-1935.

"Dream Team 1935" will appeal to a wide audience – and that is one of the film's best achievements. If you a basketball/sports fan, this film is a must. It is in the same class as films like "Glory Road" (2006) or "Cool Runnings" (1993). If you are interested in history, the history of basketball, about the 1930s in Europe, it will also appeal to you. If you like to delve into historical parallels with today, then the film is fascinating as well for you.

The international version of "Dream Team 1935" will premiere in the first half of 2013. Targeting the world's largest basketball film audience, North America, the film will be dubbed in English. This will be the first film out of Latvia to be presented to international audiences in this way. This is a wonderful film for everyone to enjoy. Make a note and look to see it when it comes to the big and small screen near you in 2013 !


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