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"This is a film that provides the audience with an exclusive and behind-the-scenes experience of a life dedicated to the game of hockey."
LOS ANGELES, CA, August 18, 2015 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Film and TV actors Darren Mann and Kenny Wood-Schatz are pleased to announce "Best of 7," a forthcoming feature sports drama film that follows a prep school hockey team in its quest to win its first-ever Michigan state championship.
With tonality similar to the Texas high school football hit "Friday Night Lights," which Universal Pictures produced for the big screen and NBC turned into an Emmy-winning TV series, "Best of 7" presents an authentic study of the pressures felt by prep hockey players both on and off the ice.
The film follows a present day, fictitious Michigan team, but is developed with the unique and revealing perspective of Mann and Wood-Schatz, who are former hockey players-turned-actors.
Mann, 26 and from Vancouver, played hockey since he was 4 years old. The former prep and junior-level standout went on to play pro hockey with the ECHL's Evansville Icemen and finished later with their affiliate club, the Indiana Blizzard. After tearing his supraspinatus on three different occasions, Mann decided to retire from the game and pursue acting. Wood-Schatz is a 16-plus-year hockey vet who played and coached at the club and junior levels in Canada.
Mann and Wood-Schatz both will co-star in the film and co-wrote the script. It takes place over the final two weeks of the season, including the team's playoff run for a championship.
"We reveal the truth of what it's like for these young athletes to balance life and hockey, and all the responsibility to win even though they are just kids," said Mann, who previously acted in the hockey film, "Stanley's Game Seven 3D," as well as The CW's "The 100," "iZombie" and "Supernatural."
Continued Mann, "We want to focus on the realism of the players outside of the locker room. People see the product on the ice, but they don't see what these young kids are going through. Some kids are talking to Canadian hockey teams. Some are talking to American Universities. There's the pressure to win at all costs and to really devote your body and all your time to the team."
Wood-Schatz, a 22-year old Alberta native who acted in Ryan Bergmann's short film, "#Fix," and in the AMPIA Award-winning TV series, "Tiny Plastic Men," said, "This is a film that provides the audience with an exclusive and behind-the-scenes experience of a life dedicated to the game of hockey. It displays the ultimate highs and the lowest of lows of athletes behind the locker room doors, on ice, and away from the rink. Success in hockey is much more intensive than one would believe. The pressure the boys go through from parents, coaches, and teammates is at an immense level. As for the seniors, the scouts that come to evaluate your performance could potentially hold your future in their hands."
Mann will play the character - Wyatt - an 18-year old senior and right wing. "The only reason he shows up to school is to play in the games," says Mann. "He has a badass attitude and good looks. He attracts girls and has a few close friends, but doesn't care if people like him or not. Wyatt has unbelievable talent, but he's been struggling ever since his Dad left him with his Mom. She works long hours. He really doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. He's confused, lost and needs someone to pull him on the right path so he can use his talent for good."
Mann's expanding filmography includes roles in Netflix's "Some Assembly Required," the Canadian Screen Award nominated series "Package Deal," ABC's "Motive" and The CW's "The Tomorrow People."
"Darren is a highly experienced actor who is able to bring forth exceptional emotion and connection to his characters," said Wood-Schatz. "He tells a genuine story of what it's like to bloodshed for what you love."
Wood-Schatz will helm the role of Joel, a senior center and teammate to Wyatt. "Envision a naturally gifted hockey player that is overly fancy with the puck," Wood-Schatz said. "Double him as the team goon who always has the ability to bring a comedic relief to the locker room. Unfortunately, in Joel's case, his parents aren't as concerned about hockey as they are for his education. I believe that many athletes can relate to the pressures of pleasing their parents while striving to succeed in the game they love. These conflicts plays a major role on Joel's maturing character, as he is battling for something so valuable to him."
"Kenny's a real talent and a great asset to this project," Mann said. "Not only does he bring a dynamic acting presence within scenes, he offers another voice of special knowledge of the game to the production. This will allow for filmmaking that we believe is a cut above the others, especially in the sports drama genre."
Working again with Mann is Rick Tae, who is serving as story editor for "Best of 7." The two recently collaborated on "Windfall," a short drama that Tae directed and Mann starred in. Tae previously assisted director Roland Emmerich on the blockbuster "2012" and is known for his acting in "Godiva's," the CBC's "Intelligence" and USA Network's "The Dead Zone."
Mann's former Indiana Blizzard teammate, Jason Lindner, is handling creative story consultant duties.
"Best of 7" will enter pre-production soon. It is targeting shooting locations in Alberta and Michigan, and is being planned for a 2016 release.
For more information, follow Darren on Twitter: https://twitter.com/darrenwmann
And visit IMDb: http://tinyurl.com/DarrenIMDb
"Best of 7" is a forthcoming feature sports drama film from Darren Mann and Kenny Wood-Schatz.
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