Matthew Arnold grew up in Elmhurst, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, and was fortunate enough to be a student of Coach Joe Newton, the dazzling subject of his feature directing debut of The Long Green Line.
Inspired by Coach Newton’s ability to positively impact the lives of children, Matthew moved to Los Angeles to teach journalism to middle school and high school students at Harvard Westlake School. The film was an opportunity to look back to see what makes for an effective mentor and teacher.
Matthew used his knowledge of Photoshop that he teaches to build all of the graphic and photo sequences in The Long Green Line. He now works as a travel and rock photographer in Los Angeles, and he teaches journalism at Crossroads School, and independent school in Santa Monica.
Matthew recently completed the pilot episodes for Legends of La La, a musical documentary-style webseries about up and coming singer/songwriters aspiring to greatness in Los Angeles. He is also researching his next film, Life After the Dead, a documentary about the subcultures that have evolved out of the Grateful Dead parking lot experience. He plans to join the jamband festival tour in the summer of 2010 to find subjects and complete principal photography for the film.
Brady Hallongren ran cross country and track for Coach Joe Newton in the 1990s. He studied Cinema Production at Southern Illinois University. He moved to Hollywood in 2000 to work in the fi lm industry and worked as a Title and Camera Supervisor. He is now freelancing as a cameraman and editor for television and independent fi lms.
The documentary The Long Green Line is his feature debut as a Producer and fi rst feature as a Director of Photography. Brady has worked on and completed projects for Lionsgate Films, Sony Picture Classics, Hallmark Hall of Fame and Warner Brothers to name a few. Brady co-produced the documentary Missing, Presumed Dead: The Search for America’s POWs . He is currently freelancing for the action sports network Fuel TV owned by Fox Sports.
ROSS DETTMAN is a professional sports photographer based in the Chicago area. He is a regular contributing photographer to ESPN The Magazine and has covered the last six Super Bowls and last four Stanley Cup Finals for the magazine among numerous other assignments across North America. In addition to his regular professional work, he has chronicled much of Matt and Eric’s running careers at York High School. He has licensed hundreds of still images from this collection to the Long Green Line project.
In the summer of 2005, my co-producer Brady Hallongren and I set out to capture the essence of coaching legend, Joe Newton. I’ve known of Mr. Newton since I was in the fourth grade. A classmate was running in Coach Newton’s summer program and he would always share his stories about this force of nature who was inspiring hundreds of men all summer long.
In high school, Mr. Newton was my teacher and my first real-life example of what a true leader is. He is able to walk a fine line between hardline disciplinarian and loving father figure. One moment he will be yelling and cussing out an athlete at the top of his lungs, and in the next, be patting him on the back and making him feel like a champion.
This project was especially personal for me since I have been teaching high school for the last four years. While working at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, I have been exposed to some of the most competitive academic scholars in the country. Making this film was an opportunity for me to reflect back on my own high school years. I wanted to hone my skills as a teacher – to learn the techniques that make the great ones great.
This year, York High School in Elmhurst, Illinois had the largest team in the history of the school. In this day of iPods, cell phones, and the Internet, anyone who can inspire 220+ teenagers to run up to 20 miles a day must have an extraordinary and essential gift to share with young people. Mr. Newton imparts life lessons that transcend all disciplines – business, sports, the arts, education. He espouses the discipline of being a stellar human being, always striving to do the absolute best one can do—whatever one happens to be doing:
• Always do your best
• Show up on time
• Treat the little guy that always comes in last as well as you treat the best guy
• Show tender loving care to your athletes every day
• Believe in the team
Joe Newton is an integral part of the community of Elmhurst. He has created his own “village” within the larger one of the town itself. THE LONG GREEN LINE creates leaders among its ranks. Some young men lead with their voices, some with their legs and lungs, but it is always a perpetual model of leadership.
My journey back to my formative years has been incredibly rewarding by allowing me to investigate what it truly takes to be a success – in coaching, in running, and in life.