The Making of Sacred Ground

Film Makers' Vision

Date:    Thursday, February 16, 2017

Hundreds of hours of footage is distilled down to just over an hour of brilliantly edited narrative to capture the story of Sacred Ground, an independent film by veteran documentarians, Kevin G. Friend and Jason Elmer Carter, set to make its World Premiere in Newport, for a one-night engagement on Feb. 25 at the Jane Pickens Theater. (Tickets)

The feature-length documentary presents a behind the scenes compilation of the labors, the bonds, the time-honored traditions and rivalries that played out during the 25th season of the Newport International Polo Series, an uncommon sport whose grass roots devotion became an institution.

Over the course of four months, the production crew dedicated every other Saturday, and many other days in between, to record the unfolding of the 25th season of the popular polo matches that have captivated New England audiences for generations in Polo’s American birthplace.

“I've been lucky enough to experience many events through the course of 20 years of sports and lifestyle production, but the Newport Polo scene, in our own backyard, was always special for its spirit and vibe. So even though the work and commitment to the project was pretty intense, I can honestly say I enjoyed just about every minute of it,” explained Friend.

A regulation polo field, equal to 9 football fields combined, is ordinarily extremely difficult to capture on video without expertise. The modest 3-man crew approached the challenge with the latest high definition multi-camera coverage, with slow motion features, aerial drones and over 25 years of experience as leading producers of acclaimed documentaries, TV series and live professional sports coverage.

Kevin Friend, owner of BNC Productions, has produced a number of full length social and cultural documentaries for a wide variety of clients, created over 300 nationally distributed programs featuring sports, travel and leisure, and has directed over 1000 live sporting events, including the New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, and Harvard University Athletics.  Friend directed and co-produced Sacred Ground with Jason Carter.  

Carter, an award winning cinematographer and filmmaker of documentary, educational, sports and broadcast television including twenty years of collaboration on BCN Productions projects, is also Adjunct Professor of Cinematography and Director of Video Production & Facilities in the Department of Communications & Journalism at Suffolk University.

“The characters and horses we met along the way really make this film,” adds Friend. “They were so unique and full of personality but all with a common core. Part of the joy was interacting with them week after week and getting to know them...and them getting to know us. In the end they really tell the story through their various experiences.”

The BCN Production team BCN brings together a core group of film and video personal and graphics/animation talent to round out the production process, backed by the twenty five years of broadcast production experience of Friend and Carter, the creative team behind the acclaimed broadcast series Golfing the World and The Mountain Report. BCN Productions is a film/video multimedia broadcast production company based in New England, specializing in documentary film, broadcast television, business communication, and live event production since 1988.

“When documentarians Kevin Friend and Jason Carter approached us to tell our story," explains Dan Keating, Captain, "we witnessed their passion, expertise and comprehensiveness as they followed us through the travails, challenges and triumphs of our 25th season.”

With footage from June through September, location filming from the International Polo Grounds in Portsmouth, aerial footage, and scenes and events on location in Newport, RI, the film compiles inside-the-chukker experiences, candid player and fan interviews, back story of the club, behind the scenes preparations, and reveals from daybreak rituals to the glittery gala, into a cinematic celebration of the spirit of Newport Polo, one of the most renown polo experiences in the world today.  Watch the official movie trailer.

Jane Pickens Theater and Event Center: Presents the World Premiere of Sacred Ground on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 8pm. A cocktail party is scheduled at 7pm to meet & greet the filmmakers and players, followed by the film at 8pm, concluding with a Q&A with the filmmakers. Tickets are $12, and can be purchased in advance from www.janepickens.com (and at the door, if available); at 49 Touro Street on Washington Square in Newport, RI.

The Jane Pickens Theater and Event Center is a world-class art house cinema located in Washington Square in the historic center of Newport, showcasing films for over 90 years. Proceeds will benefit Friends of the Jane Pickens Theater, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to keeping the arts & culture alive in Washington Square, currently funding local educational film programming.

Polo in the Newport Winter Festival Sacred Ground is being presented in conjunction with the Newport Winter Festival, which will also feature Beach Polo earlier that day.  Newport Polo will host the 6th annual Beach Polo exhibition in the Newport Winter Festival on February 25th & 26th at 1pm, weather permitting on the sands of Easton’s Beach, located at 175 Memorial Boulevard in Newport, as a featured attraction, free of charge, in the 29th annual Newport Winter Festival, running from February 17th – 26th.

Over 100 events taking place throughout Newport in 'New England's Largest Winter Extravaganza,' combining food, festivities, music, and fun for all ages.

About Newport International Polo Series: For an invitation & details to the Premiere After Party, please sign up. Newport Polo hosts the Newport International Polo Series, featuring teams from around the world, for the past 25 years and is the only forum in the world dedicated to international polo competition. To date, 33 nations have participated. The unique summertime tradition attracts audiences from throughout the New England region. Public exhibition matches are held every Saturday, June through September. The most current information is online at www.nptpolo.com and by private Subscription to its monthly E-magazine.