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While playing for the California League's Stockton Ports in 2005, Eddie Cornejo, Jed Morris and Benny Winslow came up with a novel way to inspire their team: they made a movie.
The resulting film, Dream Revolver, is hardly a run-of-the-mill sports flick. Rather, it is a surrealist comedy-drama that shines a spotlight on the uncertain, angst-ridden life of an unidentified Minor Leaguer (played by Winslow). The 55-minute work is highly interpretive and heavily reliant on bizarre dream sequences, hardly the sort of movie one would expect from a trio of supposed jocks.
Dream Revolver received a well-deserved boost Monday evening, when it was shown at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival (NYIIFVF). The annual event is one of the most high-profile and far-reaching of its kind, showcasing the work of filmmakers from all over the globe in an exhaustive attempt to highlight the major talents of the independent filmmaking scene. In previous years, the festival has featured the works of Hollywood power hitters such as Jennifer Aniston, George Clooney and Vin Diesel.
The mere fact that Dream Revolver was accepted into the festival shows how much Cornejo, Morris and Winslow exceeded their own expectations for the film. The project was conceived at a sandwich shop in Bakersfield, Calif., midway through the 2005 season. At the time, the Ports' were suffering from a case of mid-season ennui and needed something to shake them up. In an interview with Jonathan Mayo on MLB Radio's Around the Minors program, Morris explained how the idea for Dream Revolver came about:
"We wanted to do something inspirational," he said. "So we went back to our hotel, wrote down a bunch of our ideas, and it took off. It really helped take our mind off the pressures of playing baseball. You come off the field and have a movie to talk about instead of a strikeout."
"Nobody knows what it's about", added Winslow. "We didn't have a plan or a script."
The trio shot the film in between games on a camcorder and edited it on a laptop during road trips. In addition to Winslow's star turn, nearly every Stockton player makes a cameo appearance at one point or another. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Ports season improved dramatically after filming got underway. The club won the second-half championship before falling to the Modesto Nuts in the first round of the playoffs.
Due to Spring Training, Cornejo, Morris and Winslow were unable to attend Dream Revolver's Monday night screening. This season, the 26-year-old Winslow will focus on coaching, as his days a player now behind him. Cornejo, a 24-year-old shortstop, and Morris, a 25-year-old catcher, could very well be reunited in 2006 as members of the Texas League's Midland Rockhounds.
If that occurs, could Dream Revolver II be far behind?
Benjamin Hill is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.