The Cleveland International Film Festival promotes artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition to enrich the life of the community.
April 03, 2019 | posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers
Behind every great golfer, there’s a great caddie.
The multi-dimensional relationship that forms on the links is unique in the world of sports and finally earns the exploration it always deserved in “Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk.” The film—narrated by comedy legend (and former caddie) Bill Murray—shifts the spotlight from the characters who dominate the fairways to their trusted advisers, confidantes, and oftentimes, lifelong friends.
“I always knew there was an employee-employer relationship, but many progress into more of a friendship,” says Jim Packer, the film’s executive producer, who has been with his caddie for 25 years. “What I felt came through in the movie is the passion of these caddies—it’s far more than just a job. Some people have been caddying for 40 years or more. It is their true passion in life.”
Bill Murray, who along with his brother, Brian Doyle-Murray, was responsible for perhaps the most iconic golf film ever made, “Caddyshack,” was the preferred choice to narrate the film. The Murray brothers grew up caddying at Indian Hill Club in Winnetka, Ill.
Renowned loopers, or golf caddies, like Steve Williams (Tiger Woods and Adam Scott) and Fanny Sunesson (Nick Faldo) naturally get their stories explored, but so do lesser-known characters, including Greg Puga, the Bel-Air Country Club caddie who qualified for the Masters tournament.
Renowned caddie master Mike Kiely of Canterbury Golf Club in Beachwood, Ohio, is also one of those loopers elevated to, as Packer describes it, their “rightful place” in sports lore. Over the last 50-plus years, Kiely has mentored and trained thousands in the art and science of caddying. Kiely was introduced to Packer by Michael Murphy, a native of Cleveland and president of Gravitas Ventures, a global entertainment distribution company.
The film, directed by Jason Baffa, traces the roots of caddying—a story that starts more than a century back ago in Scotland and Ireland before coming to the United States. It explores how the job evolved from a task delegated to those who worked at the bar or in the kitchen to the well-respected profession it is today. The narrative also weaves through some of the most iconic locales in the golf world—Augusta National Golf Club, Pebble Beach, and The Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland, among others.
And it’s not just a film for golf fans, but anyone interested in the testament of the human spirit and the relationships that form among those with shared passions.
“The most misunderstood thing about caddies are that they just carry the bag,” Packer says. “What this movie does is show what really goes on between those two people.”
PHOTO: Executive Producer Jim Packer loves the game of golf and knows that a caddie is much more than a silent sidekick to a golfer.
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