Mark Bingham doco The Rugby Player to screen ahead of Bingham Cup
ABC2 will screen the world television premiere of award winning documentary The Rugby Player. The film explores the life of Mark Bingham, a gay rugby player and founding member of the San Francisco Fog. The Bingham Cup is named in Mark’s honour.
Charismatic and athletic, Bingham was well known in the gay community for his prowess on the field and talent behind the camera (filmmaking was his hobby). But Bingham gained renown in the community at large for his heroic deeds on September 11. As one of the passengers aboard hijacked United Airlines flight 93 Bingham and a group of other passengers attempted to take back control of the plane. The passengers’ efforts resulted in the plane crash landing in a field rather than into its intended target in Washington.
The Rugby Player weaves together the story of Mark and his mother Alice and shows how a. son’s heroism can inspire people around the world, and how a mother’s love can turn profound loss into unshakable resolve.
The documentary also features players from The Sydney Convicts, Australia’s first gay rugby union team and hosts of the Bingham Cup.
“It’s incredibly heartbreaking to watch this film, but at the same time I’m so proud that Mark’s life story challenges any notion that gay men are somehow weaker or morally unprepared to face a difficult physical task,” said his mother, Alice Hoagland, who will be attending the Bingham Cup and staying with Mark’s Australian best friend, who also appears in the film.
Growing up Bingham was an aspiring filmmaker. He used his video camera as a form of personal expression, capturing hundreds of hours of video documenting the final decade and a half of his life, from his teenage years until weeks before he died.
This personal archive allowed the program’s makers to weave remarkably personal images captured by Mark’s own lens into the fabric of the documentary.
The film gives the viewer a unique, real-life insight into the challenges faced by gay athletes in accepting their own sexuality.
Mark’s mother, Alice Hoagland, along with Mark’s high school and college friends, former partners, family members reminisce about Mark throughout the program, tracing their interactions with him up until the day he boarded United Flight 93 on September 11.
ABC2 will screen the TV Premiere of The Rugby Player on Wednesday, August 20 at 8.30pm.
A special screening of The Rugby Player will also be held on Monday, August 25, 7pm, at Event Cinemas George Street, as part of Bingham Cup Week. Presented by Queer Screen, the film will be followed by a Q&A with Mark’s mother, Alice Hoagland.
For tickets and details of the screening, visit the Bingham Cup website here.