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"The Kids Table" - A Bridge Documentary // Filmmaker Statement

To the Bridge Community,

My name is Edd Benda, and I am the co-director, co-producer, and one of the subjects of the documentary The Kids Table. I am also one of the founders of Beyond the Porch Productions. As more people view our film I want to take this opportunity to clarify the origin of our story, as well as the role of the ACBL and the ACBL Educational Foundation.

I grew up in a family of Bridge players, and I never took an interest in the game as a kid. A few years ago, however, I learned the sobering statistic that the average age of a Bridge player in North America is 73 and increasing every year. My initial research into the game exposed a world of competition and community that I found fascinating. In assessing the world and the omnipresent challenge of its aging population, I asked a very simple question, “What would it be like if a group of young professionals became regular Bridge players?”

I initially contacted the ACBL in an effort to find coaches in the greater-Los Angeles area who might be interested in participating in our project. At that time, we still had little knowledge about the complexities of the game or the challenges we would face. After assembling our team and instructors, I worked with my collaborators at Beyond the Porch and our coaches to build a regimented curriculum for us to experience the game. This eight-month schedule included a weekly lesson coupled with a duplicate session at a local Bridge club, participation in two local regionals, one local NABC, and traveling cross-country for the NABC Philadelphia. A schedule that we deemed “Normal” for a regular Bridge player.

After building the concept, schedule, and budget for our film, we approached the ACBL Educational Foundation for funding. We are incredibly thankful for their support, as well as their respect for our creative process and freedom in telling this story. The Kids Table was never designed to be a puff promotional piece for Bridge. It is an investigative film into the experience of four young players journeying through the competitive Bridge landscape for the first time. I cannot speak personally on behalf of the Ed Foundation, but they understand that Bridge is struggling to attract a younger demographic, and they saw value in trying to better understand on a much more specific and personal level what the experience is like for young people playing the game.

There is no scripted narration in the film. Everything you see and hear comes directly from “The Kids” and Bridge players personally reflecting on the game. To the best of our ability, the final film is a showcase of our experience as well as an honest summary of the prevailing sentiments we captured from Bridge players and the community along the way.

In summary, Beyond the Porch Productions developed the initial concept and structure, and we were granted complete creative freedom to tell this story. We take full responsibility for the contents of the film, along with any perceived positive or negative connotations. This film is an honest portrayal our experience, and we hope that it resonates with all viewers, whether or not they are Bridge players.

The ACBL Educational Foundation provided a portion of the funding for this film, and as such are credited “In Association” with the film. They were not at all involved in the creative direction or final cut of the film. As filmmakers, we are thankful that they provided us the creative freedom to explore this world, understanding that at times it might not paint Bridge in the best light.

The ACBL provided permission for filming, as well as welcoming us to premiere at the Las Vegas NABC which included promotion through their marketing channels. They were not at all involved in the creative direction or final cut of the film. We appreciate their allowing us access to capture this film, coupled with the understanding that this was the story of four players, not a promotional piece for the ACBL.

We are excited about the conversation our film galvanized in the Bridge Community. When we first started filming over two years ago, we had no idea what we would capture or what our experience would be like. The Kids Table is our honest portrayal of our journey, and we are thankful for the opportunity to tell that story.

Should you have any additional questions, comments, or concerns, please contact us at bridgekids@beyondtheporch.com

Thank you,

Edd Benda & The Kids Table Team

6.2.6
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