A Los Gatos passenger who died during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks now has a place on the big screen, which was featured at Cinequest Thursday night in San Jose.
"The Rugby Player" features the life of Mark Bingham, an aggressive rugby player, University of California at California Berkeley alum, and a public relations founder who died aboard United Airlines Flight 93 but not before fighting the terrorists before his death.
"When someone decides to make the choice to come out openly as gay in this society and live honestly, and when they're met with acceptance and love instead of intolerance and hatred, they can grow up to be amazing individuals," director Scott Gracheff said. "And in Mark's case they can grow up to be heroes."
Gracheff, an Emmy award-winning director, hopes the film helps shatter stereotypes and provides insight into a family raised by a single mom, the importance of community, LGBT rights, and gay athletes in sports
He also tried to paint a portrait of how Bingham’s heroism can inspire a nation.
The majority of the film was shot by Bingham himself -- video clips from his camcorder documenting his life from high school to just a few weeks before Sept. 11, 2011. The film also touches on the moments he and three other brave men came up with a plan to overtake Flight 93 from hijackers.
The film also tries to highlight how a mother’s love turned "unfathomable loss into unshakable resolve." Bingham's mother, Alice Hoagland, has been a driving voice in keeping her son's memory alive.
"I was bowled over. It was overwhelming," Hoagland said. "I have a feeling it's going to hit me like that every time. It's so very close to home."
"The Rugby Player" has already won the best documentary audience award in several gay and lesbian film festivals, and the 2013 winner of the HBO best documentary audience award.
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