Extra Innings, by new, New York filmmaker Albert Dabah is picking up traction as it won Best Feature at the Manhattan Film Festival last month and has also been chosen as an Official Selection at both the Dumbo Film Festival and the upcoming Jersey Shore Film Festival — June 25th, The Showroom Cinema, Asbury Park, NJ. Also look for the film on June 26th at The Screening Room at Congregation Torat El in Oakhurst, NJ.
Baseball. Family. Religion. Set against the enduring magic of the 1960s, Extra Innings is a coming-of-age story about a young man caught between pursuing his dream and staying devoted to his family and religion, and how life goes on after tragedy strikes a wholesome Brooklyn family. Based on the true story of writer/director Albert Dabah.
Within a Syrian Jewish community in Brooklyn, our twelve-year old protagonist, David Sabah, is obsessed with playing baseball — to his father’s dismay. David is a misfit in his family. An overbearing father Eli, an absent minded mother Esther, an emotionally withdrawn older brother MORRIS, a free spirited and eccentric older sister Vivian, and a scholarly goody-two-shoes sister Rita round out the Sabah household. Eli and Esther have recently returned home from Israel with their son Morris. While there, Morris received psychiatric treatment and has shown no improvement. Rarely ever leaving his room, a constant loop of classical music roars from within Morris’s sanctum, providing a soundtrack for the Sabah home. When tragedy strikes and the music stops, David’s only escape from the looming darkness is on the baseball field. Not only does it open up a world for him outside of his community and religion, it offers a reprieve from the dramatics of life at home. He finds when his family won’t support him, others will.
Five years later, we find David at seventeen — handsome and at the top of his game. His former coach Giambi has supported and pushed him throughout these formative years acting as a guide and mentor. David rebels against the rules of his family and community and finds love with Natalie, an Italian girl outside of his faith and five years his senior. Natalie appreciates David’s innocence and talent for baseball. He keeps his relationship private from his family with the exception of Vivian. An open book with her emotions, Vivian entrusts David with a secret or two as well.
When an opportunity presents itself for David to move out to California to play baseball and live with Vivian, he takes it. Now is his chance to escape the confines of his community and build the life he dreams of. Things are no less complicated for David as he deals with abandoning his friends, his community, and the weight of disapproval from his father. He quickly finds out that life in California is not what he expected, and when Vivian’s manic ways reach a precipice, the darkness he presumes he had escaped is close behind. Will he find himself hopeless and give up on his dream, or will he learn that life goes on, even past the bottom of the ninth?
Watch the Extra Innings trailer below:
Note: Extra Innings is about more than baseball. It’s a film focused on bringing a message of hope to those affected by mental illness, and part of its goal is to bring awareness to the topic, share information, aid in suicide prevention, and foster a conversation about reducing the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.-43.8 million, or 18.5%- experiences mental illness in a given year. Extra Innings follows a Jewish family fraught with the difficulties surrounding mental illness. David, the youngest of four children, finds his escape in baseball, but feels divided when tragedy strikes at home.
The making of the film has been a labor of love for writer/director Albert Dabah, and even while he’s promoting screenings of the movie, he’s still trying to cover the costs. Click here to contribute to the Extra Innings Go Fund Me page.
Watch an interview with Extra Innings writer/director Albert Dabah: