Virginia Tech Football Fans, Up Close And Personal

“Hokie
Nation: A Team, A Town and the Best Darned Fans in College Football,” a
documentary film that depicts the energy and enthusiasm of Virginia Tech
football fans year ’round, will premiere at the historic Lyric Theatre in
Blacksburg at 7 p.m. Friday, August 31, the night before the opening game of
the season.

An
official university-licensed project, the film was made by local independent
filmmakers and Virginia Tech alumni Chris Valluzzo and Sean Kotz, who began
planning the production in 2005 as a way of honoring the school’s vibrant and
energetic fans. The long anticipated premiere will be held on the evening
before the Hokies open their 2007-2008 season against East Carolina in a
nationally televised game on ESPN, which will broadcast its “College
GameDay” show from

Blacksburg.

“What we
found is a fan base with an exceptional and unique culture,” says Kotz,
the co-director/producer. “The Hokie Nation has created itself by blending
traditional Appalachian values of family, hospitality, community and devotion
with a blue collar work ethic, an eye toward the future and what we call the
‘Hokie Spirit.’ This film was born out of a genuine love of the team, the town
and, especially, the Hokie fans.”

That same
approach to life helped Virginia Tech students rise above the tragedy that
struck the campus in April of this year. “Hokie Spirit is an inherent
belief that anything can be accomplished, any obstacle can be overcome with
unity, faith and willpower,” says Kotz.

“Hokie
Nation” features interviews with fans and some of the sports legends who
have called Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium home, including NFL greats Bruce
Smith, Antonio Freeman and Shayne Graham. Coach Frank Beamer, a longtime fan favorite,
helps illuminate the Hokie phenomenon, as do students, faculty, media
personalities, law enforcement officials and two

Virginia governors. The entire game day
experience is documented through world-renowned tailgates in the stadium’s
parking lots, deep coverage from the stands and birds-eye views from the luxury
boxes.

“So
many moments have been special in this project,” says co-director/producer
Valluzzo. “Interviewing Frank Beamer, Bud Foster and Bryan Stinespring,
who all gladly spoke with us for this documentary. Meeting and interviewing
Bruce Smith, arguably the greatest player to ever call himself a Hokie. Talking
with Carroll Dale, a Tech great who played in the first Super Bowl for the
Green Bay Packers under Vince Lombardi. And talking with former Governor Mark
Warner and current Governor Tim Kaine made me think that everyone is a Hokie
fan.

“But
probably the greatest moment for me,” he continues, “was walking through
the parking lot and the stadium and hearing people shout out ‘Hey, Hokie movie
guy’ and giving me the thumbs up. They were happy their story was being told
and I am extremely proud to represent these wonderful people.”

After its
August 31 premiere, “Hokie Nation” will have encore showings at the
Lyric at 9:30 that night and at Sunday and Monday matinees. The following week
it will be shown at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse on September 6-7,
Norfolk’s Naro Theater on September 6, and

Richmond’s Byrd Theater
on September 7. Check those theaters for showtimes. A DVD of the two-hour
documentary will be available for general release around mid-September. To view
a trailer or for information on purchasing the DVD, visit http://www.hokiemovie.com.