"Under the Boardwalk" News & Updates
Producer/Director Kevin Tostado writes updates about production on Under the Boardwalk: The MONOPOLY Story and shares other MONOPOLY news:
July 13, 2015 - Under the Boardwalk is now available to buy or rent from any country in the world! If you've already seen the film on Netflix, Hulu, iTunes or in theaters, but want to see more footage and behind-the-scenes, check out our Bonus Features bundle! If you purchase the film through VHX, you get HD DRM-Free files to watch whenever you want, as much as you want. Learn more at undertheboardwalk.vhx.tv.
January 21, 2015 - Hasbro announced today that the 14th MONOPOLY World Championship will be held September 7-9 at the Venetian in Macau, China. No other details regarding country championships or rules have been announced. Stay tuned and start practicing!
June 14, 2014 - We are ecstatic to share the wonderful news that the television version of Under the Boardwalk: The MONOPOLY Story was honored with four Emmy® awards by the Pacific Southwest chapter of NATAS at the 40th Annual Emmy Awards ceremony for their chapter. Producer/Director Kevin Tostado and Producer Craig Bentley each received awards for Outstanding Achievement in Documentary and Editing, and Composer Larry Groupé received an award for Outstanding Achievement in Musical Arrangement/Composition. Director Tostado also received an award for Outstanding Achievement in Directing.
Our team is so incredibly thankful for all of the hundreds of you around the world who contributed in manners great and small to help our film achieve this recognition. A very special thanks goes to our Executive Producer Stephen Nemeth, Co-Producer Betsy Stahl, Phil Orbanes, Hasbro, our investors, and the many players and collectors around the world who let us capture moments in their lives and share their stories.
April 30, 2014 - We are happy to share that our film, Under the Boardwalk: The MONOPOLY Story, was nominated for five Emmy® awards by NATAS PSW! Categories in which we were nominated include Outstanding Achievement in Documentary, Directing, Editing, Writing, and Musical Composition! The winners will be announced at the ceremony on June 14th in San Diego.
April 20, 2014 - Reminisce Magazine has chosen Under the Boardwalk as one of their Editor's Picks and featured a writeup about it in their April/May 2014 issue! Read the blurb here and go to Reminisce.com to read the whole magazine.
January 25, 2014 - Live in Hong Kong? Look for Under the Boardwalk on the i-Cable network!
May 2, 2013 - The Enhanced e-book edition of Phil Orbanes' new MONOPOLY book, MONOPOLY, Money & You is now available for order on Amazon. The Enhanced e-book edition contains all new video featurettes that we shot specifically for this book!
January 13, 2013 This morning, I did a 30 minute live radio interview with News 95.7 of Halifax, Nova Scotia. We discussed the history of Monopoly, the changes to the tokens of Monopoly that is currently happening, and talked about some strategy and house rules questions. Listen to the audio track here.
February 14, 2012 - Thanks to our distribution partnership with New Video Group, Under the Boardwalk is now available for purchase on Amazon and on iTunes! You can also order the film on the online stores for Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Walmart, and many more throughout US & Canada.
February 7, 2012 - Under the Boardwalk played to an excellent audience at the West Newton Cinema in Newton, MA. Monopoly expert and featured cast member Phil Orbanes joined me for a Q&A following the screening, and the film was written up on the front page of The Needham Times as well as an interview on The Needham Channel.
August 21, 2011 - Under the Boardwalk is now partnering with Emerging Pictures to bring the film to more venues around the country! First up will be 2 screenings at the Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport, Ct on Sep. 18 & 22. Look for some more cities in the near future!
Also, look for a Limited Edition of the DVD with tons of bonus features and a collectible MONOPOLY token to go on sale in our store!
June 28, 2011 - Under the Boardwalk was selected as a 2011 Silver Telly Award winner in the Historical category, which is the Telly's highest award!
May 6, 2011 - Under the Boardwalk is opening at the Quad Cinema in New York City! We're doing a week run with Q&As after every screening. And we're also giving out a collectible MONOPOLY token made for our film with the help of USAopoly, but you must come see the film at one of our theatrical screenings in order to get it!
We've also got screenings coming up in Anaheim, CA; Apple Valley & Victorville, CA; Austin, TX; and Tempe, AZ. For the latest details on where you can see our film, check out the Screenings page on our site!
March 31, 2011 - This morning, an article about me and the film was published in the Boston Globe paper!
March 11, 2011 - Here's a quick recap of our week-long run of Under the Boardwalk at UltraStar Mission Valley in San Diego.
And not only that, our film was reviewed in Variety, one of the major Hollywood trades! Additionally, we were featured on Wired Magazine's GeekDad blog, recorded a phone interview with a Dublin radio show, and received "5 hotels out of 5" from ComicsOnline.com. You can also listen to an interview I recorded at the Sedona Film Festival with "Pop Culture World News," and a podcast about Monopoly and the film from DiceHateMe.com.
March 7, 2011 - I've written a couple articles -- one about the history of MONOPOLY and one about Under the Boardwalk, both of which were published in the March 2011 issue of Boardwalk Journal, a monthly magazine serving Atlantic City, NJ and the surrounding cities. You can read the article via their archives.
March 4, 2011 - Today marked the world theatrical premiere of Under the Boardwalk! We had a great turnout and look forward to an awesome week!
February 28, 2011 - The Sedona International Film Festival was an awesome festival to screen Under the Boardwalk at! We played to a sold-out audience at our first screening and also recently found out that we've been accepted to a few more film festivals (Buffalo Niagara FF, River Run FF, and Santa Cruz FF)!
In the last 48 hours, we've had a story about the film on the front page of Aol.com, a front-page article in the San Diego Union-Tribune paper, a mention on NPR's Marketplace, held a press screening for Under the Boardwalk, had a live interview on FOX 5 San Diego, and recorded another couple interviews! Last Friday, KSDS Jazz Radio in San Diego aired a 30-minute interview with Craig & I about the film and the story of its production. We have also appeared twice on the Jeff & Jer Showgram on KYXY in San Diego, once last Friday and again this morning!
January 29, 2011 - The MONOPOLY Facebook page which I administrate has continued to skyrocket in growth! Since the end of December, we've doubled again in size, having now passed 1.6 MILLION fans this week and if this current growth rate continues, we'll pass 2 million fans on the page in a few more weeks.
January 22, 2011 - I was just interviewed on NPR's "Only A Game" radio show about Under the Boardwalk. The show aired on over 200 radio stations around the country. You can listen to the interview by clicking on the "Listen" button on their page here.
January 17, 2011 - For the week of January 10-16, Under the Boardwalk was the 12th most demanded film, musician, performer, or artist in the world, and the most demanded documentary on Eventful.com! Eventful is a tool where people from all over the world can "Demand" that their favorite bands, films, artists, or personalities come perform or put on a show in their town. Eventful is most-known for the campaign to get a million demands for Paranormal Activity to help determine where to launch the film. Under the Boardwalk has been demanded by over 1800 cities and locations around the world, and has now been in the "Top 50 Most Demanded" chart for 6 weeks.
You can demand Under the Boardwalk in your city by clicking right here! Over 2000 cities around the world have now demanded it!
January 5, 2011 - Tim Vandenberg, a 6th grade teacher from Victorville, CA who is featured in our film, gave a presentation at the San Diego Museum of Man yesterday to an intrigued audience of 50. His talk mostly focused on MONOPOLY strategy and a little bit on how important interpersonal skills are when playing MONOPOLY. We also showed about 10 minutes of Under the Boardwalk to the audience to help introduce Tim's speech!\
December 30, 2010 - We're very happy to share with you breaking news that we've been selected to screen at the Sedona International Film Festival taking place February 20-27th, in Sedona, AZ. Our screening dates are Feb 23 & 26th! Come join us!
December 15, 2010 - I recorded an interview about our film and the game of MONOPOLY with The Little Metal Dog Show, a board game podcast, which is based over in the UK. You can hear my interview here. My segment begins about 6:10 into the podcast.
December 14, 2010 - I was in New York this week and stopped by the Museum of American Finance to see the world's most expensive Monopoly board in person; it's worth more than $2 million dollars! Every property is inset with rubies, diamonds, and other precious gems, and everything is plated in gold!
November 26, 2010 - Craig and I are just back from our Monopoly tournament and screening of Under the Boardwalk as part of the Chicago Toy & Game Fair. Read about it in an article published in last week's Chicago Tribune! Thanks to all who came out and played in our Chicago tournament!
John Meyer, a 2003 US Competitor and avid Monopoly collector who is featured in our film, had an article written about him recently in the Lafayette Journal which I was quoted in. John came to our tournament in Chicago and served as a judge, and was also present for the Q&A following the screening. Read the article here.
November 5, 2010 - Once again the media (primarily CNN) spent the day celebrating the "birthday" of Monopoly and its 75th anniversary. CNN shot footage of the Monopoly production line, and also put together video packages of Monopoly games from all over the world, including a handmade set from a WWII ghetto. I posted some of our production stills on the CNN iReport section and one of our photos of a Charles Darrow-made set in the Forbes Gallery was the #1-viewed photo of the section, seen by over 3500 people. For CNN's story and video, go here.
October 27, 2010 - Our screenings at the Austin Film Festival went great! Read some of our reviews:
October 17, 2010 - Under the Boardwalk just won the Audience Award for Best Documentary! We had great screenings in Anaheim and thank all those who came out!
October 10, 2010 - Immediately following each of our screenings this coming week at the Anaheim International Film Festival, we'll be holding a short Q&A with the director and producers of the film as well as two of our featured MONOPOLY players! If you are interested in attending, you can find out more at the Facebook event pages for the Anaheim Screenings:
September 30, 2010 - The Motion Picture Assocation of America (MPAA) has certified Under the Boardwalk - The MONOPOLY Story as a G rating. That means the film is fun the whole family can enjoy together!
September 15, 2010 - Even more good news! We've been selected for the Anaheim International Film Festival! This set of screenings will be our World Premiere! We'll play on October 15th and 17th, and tickets are available at AnaheimFilm.org.
September 9, 2010 - We've just been notified that Under the Boardwalk has been selected for the 2010 Austin Film Festival! Our screenings at Austin will be Oct 23rd & 26th. We're still figuring out plans for beyond Austin, but we'll keep you all posted.
July 17, 2010 - We've now submitted the film to several film festivals taking place in September & October and should begin to hear back from some of them around the end of this month. The whole film festival process is very much like the college application process: you have exclusive schools that are hard to get into, and safety schools that you're pretty much guaranteed to get into, and you have to send in an application, fee, and transcripts. Replace transcript with DVD and schools with festivals and it's the same!
We're getting some final quotes from color correction and audio sweetening houses to help give the film the final polish before the film festivals and anticipate all of the final touches being completed by mid-August. At that point, we can begin focusing 100% on the release of the film and its future!
Some other assorted MONOPOLY news:
June 26, 2010 - Big news! Zachary Levi (star of Chuck on NBC) came on board to do the narration for the film! We recorded with him in Los Angeles yesterday - photos here. In addition to Chuck, he is the lead voice in the next big Disney animated release, Tangled. And, I might add, an incredibly nice guy to work with!
Our music score is about 95% done, and we're polishing up some graphics and animation sequences, then the film will be complete!
June 22, 2010 - Tom & I headed down to Florida, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts to shoot some final interviews for the film, including a game designer and author, a self-made millionaire who is also a 2-time US MONOPOLY Champion, a psychologist, and the editor of BoardgameNews.com! This footage helps to make the film have a bit more high-level commentary on why people love the game and what has made it so successful through the years.
If you see Toy Story 3, keep your eyes open for a nice cameo of MONOPOLY money about 2/3 of the way through! Also, some folks have come up with the "Shortest Theoretical Monopoly Game." Others then came up with an even shorter game!
May 30, 2010 - USAopoly recently launched a few new editions of MONOPOLY: Hello Kitty, Elvis and John Wayne editions. They've also relaunched their fanpage on Facebook.
EA has announced that they will be releasing a new series of video games this fall called MONOPOLY Streets which will be a 3D dynamic living world within the console. You can read the full release here.
May 21, 2010 - We're very excited to have begun getting music from Larry Groupé, our composer, and as we get closer to a final cut, he'll be writing more tracks for the film.
Over 600 people around the world have demanded a screening of the film on Eventful.com (eventful.com/UnderTheBoardwalk). The general Monopoly Facebook page (facebook.com/Monopoly) that I administer is gaining thousands of new fans every week, and has now put the 300,000 fan milestone far in its rear view mirror. Now we're trying to build up our film's Facebook page (facebook.com/UnderTheBoardwalk), so please go there and click on Like!
April 9, 2010 - Jordan and I flew back east earlier this month to film some final segments with the main MONOPOLY historian, Phil Orbanes, in Boston. While back east, we also went to New York to shoot some priceless MONOPOLY sets in the Forbes Museum, including a round set designed on a tablecloth by Charles Darrow himself!
March 27, 2010 - This weekend, we were in San Jose to film a game of MONOPOLY with four of the US Championship finalists who are featured in our film. We got some great footage that we'll use during the end credits of the film. We also had our shoot written up in the San Jose Mercury News - you can read the article and see some photos here. Additional photos of the event are on our Flickr site and to find out more about Monopoly in the Park where we filmed last weekend, visit MonopolyInThePark.com.
January 22, 2010: There are several competitions going on right now to help choose which MONOPOLY tokens or cities are chosen for new sets:
January 19, 2010: Today, Craig and I drove to up the Hollywood Hills to do a footage review with our Executive Producer, Stephen Nemeth, before he headed off to Sundance 2010 in Park City, Utah. We had some great footage to share with him and he believes that we definitely have something special.
We then drove a little farther north to film an interview with actor Richard Hatch, who many of you may know from his roles on both incarnations of the television series Battlestar Galactica. MONOPOLY was a favorite game of Richard's when he was growing up and he shared some fond memories of the game with us.
January 9, 2010: I went out to Las Vegas yesterday to film some footage of 2003 US Champion Matt McNally at his job (Stage Manager for Jubilee at Bally's Las Vegas). We also shot an interview with him on his reflections of the 2009 US & World Championships and what MONOPOLY means to him.
On the way back from Vegas, we stopped to film with Stephanie Feeback of Pomona, CA, who has a MONOPOLY-themed bathroom as well as a very impressive MONOPOLY board collection. Thanks Stephanie!
December 29, 2009: By an astounding coincidence, Richard Darrow, the grandson of the man thought of as the inventor of MONOPOLY, owns a bison farm in the small Pennsylvania town of Bedford where Craig's wife grew up. After trying for a couple months to schedule an interview while Craig and family were visiting her's family over the holidays, a meeting was finally set up just a day before leaving San Diego. We're happy to report the interviews went great!
Richard also put us in touch with the oldest grandson (Chuck), and the next day Craig drove to Jersey Shore, PA and interviewed Chuck as well. In addition to some great stories (the colors on the Monopoly board were chosen because they were the cheapest paints their grandfather could buy!), Richard and Chuck also had a lot of historic photos and an original Monopoly "board" (oil-cloth) that Craig was able to film.
We also got some photographs of the house where Charles Darrow designed the version of MONOPOLY in the '30s that became a worldwide phenomenon. Turns out the house is for sale if you want to own a piece of history in Philly!
December 28, 2009: I was quoted in an iVillage article about America's favorite board game, MONOPOLY!
December 20, 2009:We are in the process of acquiring footage of the New Zealand champion (Geoff Christopher) who finished second in the World Championship. His friends shot high-definition footage of Geoff's road to the New Zealand championship, and we have negotiated to use that footage in our film.
December 5, 2009: Thanks to Exec. Producer Steve Nemeth, we filmed some short interviews about MONOPOLY on the red carpet at the Artivist Film Festival in Hollywood, where Steve was being honored. We shot interviews with several actors, the most notable of which was Hank Azaria, best known for the many characters that he voices on The Simpsons. You can watch our quick interview with him here or just click on the photo below. If you watch that video, or any of our videos on YouTube, please rate them and add a comment!
November 14, 2009: Since the 2009 World Champion Bjørn Knappskog of Norway was not from one of the 7 countries where we previously had filmed the country championship, we hired a Norwegian videographer to shoot some footage of Bjørn at his home outside Oslo, Norway. We got some great interviews with Bjørn, as well as other footage, such as him playing Monopoly with his friends, which will help us to put together a profile of him for the film.
November 11, 2009: Steve, Craig and I are exploring different methods of distribution. You may already be aware that the independent film distribution landscape is currently undergoing a radical change from traditional models. On one hand, distributors are not handing out the huge advances for long-term all-rights deals like they used to. On the other hand, digital theaters and a changing marketplace are making it much easier for producers to control distribution themselves and receive larger pieces of the revenue pie.
On another note, for the Chilean version of Monopoly, they held a contest to vote on which location should be the top property on the board. Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) won with 11,800 votes (more than 60%)! Monopoly.cl.
July 22, 2009: The World MONOPOLY Association, created by 2003 US MONOPOLY Champion Matt McNally, has just been launched globally and needs supporters like you. Please visit WorldMonopolyAssociation.com to learn more. Now is the time to finally build an association, managed by the enthusiasts of the game, to augment the legitimacy of MONOPOLY as the world’s greatest board game. The association will offer members various incentives, including tournaments that are standardized and regularly scheduled, opportunities to network with other players, newsletters, conventions, community outreach programs, player development, historical preservation, and much, much, more!
July 20, 2009: We hired a local crew to film the Japanese Tournament of Champions held in Tokyo to determine which Japan MONOPOLY Champion would be representing Japan in Las Vegas. Unlike most other countries, Japan holds an annual championship. Takahiro Ishii, the 2005 champion, defeated his three opponents to take the title.
June 27, 2009: We launched the brand-new trailer for "Under the Boardwalk" today! This trailer features more of the championships from around the world and hopefully gives you a good sense of the competion that you will see in our film. To watch the trailer, click over to the Videos page.
June 1, 2009: After finishing up in Montreal, Jordan and I drove to Buffalo, New York, home of the new US Champion, Rick Marinaccio. We shot footage of Rick playing a game of speed die MONOPOLY with his family and shot new interviews with him covering his background with the game, what it was like for him to win the US Championship and what he is doing to prepare for the World Championship in October. I think that Rick may have a decent chance of winning it all!
May 30, 2009 - The Canada MONOPOLY Championship taking place in Montreal was filled with 3 very intense days of competition. 48 players from all over the country played 3 rounds of 90-minute games with the speed die, with the players for the final table being decided by combined total assets with several players tied for 4th place in points.
Will Lusby, who entered the final game as the 1st seed had amazing luck with the dice. On the very first turn of the game, he rolled a 7, landing him on Chance. He drew Advance to Boardwalk, letting him starting using the speed die on his third turn. On his next time around, he picked up Park Place, and at that point, the game was his to lose.
During the Championship game, Jean-Guy Brin -- one of the Canada competitors and friend of new Will Lusby -- was tweeting a play-by-play of the match. You can read through his tweets at twitter.com/WRLusby; look for the posts from May 30th.
Andrew Chang of the CBC shot this video from the Canada MONOPOLY Championships, featuring an interview with competitor Paul Assaad and judge Phil Orbanes.
May 27, 2009 - Today, Jordan and I went to Stockley Park, the location of Hasbro's main UK office. We were able to sit in and film a design meeting where the Hasbro Monopoly team was hard at work planning details and logistics for new versions of the game that should be launching sometime next year. It was great to get a feel of what exciting and innovative products we can expect from the Monopoly brand in the near future!
May 26, 2009 - The UK Championship brought together 16 players from all over the UK who had qualified by placing in the top 4 at one of the regionals held around England. Players varied in age from 19 to players in their 60s and came from all different sorts of backgrounds. One contestant was competing in his 7th straight UK Monopoly Finals; he started competed back in 1984 and hasn't stopped since!
After 3 60-minute round-robin rounds and a to-the-death Final Round, John Broomfield of London bankrupted all of his opponents and was declared the 2009 UK Monopoly Champion. His prize for winning was a trip for 2 to Las Vegas to represent the UK in October at the World Championship. Check out http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8069372.stm for a 2-minute recap of the UK Championship from the BBC.
May 23, 2009 - After finishing up in New England, we then traveled on from New England to ye olde England. Once we were settled in the UK, we headed up to Leeds to film interviews with some big people in the Monopoly world: Victor Watson, the former chairman of Waddingtons - the UK licensee of Monopoly; Jason Bunn, the 1985 UK & World Monopoly Champion and a collector; and Matthew Horton, a Monopoly collector with over 600 sets and webmaster of WorldOfMonopoly.com.
Matthew got started collecting Monopoly sets about 8 years ago right around the advent of eBay. Matthew and his wife had been searching stores for a particular set of Monopoly with an electronic Stock Exchange addition. When they decided to use eBay to search for it, they came across hundreds of sets that they didn't realize even existed. In the years since, Matthew has collected hundreds of sets from all over the world, including some very rare sets due to limited print runs. He set up WorldOfMonopoly.com to help document his collection and to share the information he's gathered with other collectors all around the world!
We then went to Waterstone's in Leeds to meet with Victor Watson, who was hosting a book signing for his new book on the history of Waddingtons. Victor's grandfather took over the company back in the 1920s and was in charge when Parker Brothers contacted Waddingtons to see if they'd be interested in licensing the game for the UK market. Victor shared with us some early memories of the game as well as some very important pieces of history, a silk map that had been secretly hidden in sets of Monopoly and delivered to WWII POW's via the Red Cross and a playing card with a map hidden between the layers, both made by Waddingtons.
That day we also filmed an interview with Jason Bunn, the 1985 Monopoly World Champ who has played all over the world and against many celebrities including playing against Richard Branson on a live tv broadcast (apparently Richard was doing so badly that he flipped the board). Jason is the 3rd Monopoly World Champion who we've been able to interview thus far.
May 20, 2009 - Jordan and I traveled back east to New England to shoot some footage at Hasbro's main production plant in East Longmeadow, MA and at their World Headquarters in Pawtucket, RI. We got some great shots of the Monopoly production line as well as Monopoly money being printed at an incredible rate. We filmed an interview with George Burtch, who had worked at the East Longmeadow plant for over 30 years, about the history of Parker Brother's acquisition by Hasbro as well as some statistics about their production facility. George also took us into the archive at Hasbro where they had an amazing collection of not just Monopoly games, but lots of Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley games going back into the turn of the 20th century and earlier!
We also had an opportunity to film an interview with Jane Ritson-Parsons, the global brand manager for Monopoly and one of the top 10 executives within Hasbro worldwide. She was able to provide us with a great perspective on the Monopoly brand as well as a hint of what is in the future of the Monopoly brand as Hasbro celebrates the 75th anniversary of Monopoly next year.
While in Rhode Island, we also visited WT Wilson, Inc, a pewter sculpting and manufacturing company, who make all of the tokens for USAopoly, the Carlsbad company that produces the majority of the special editions of Monopoly. It was very cool to get to see the process of design and productions of the tokens from start to finish.
April 19, 2009 - Jordan and I stuck around after filming the US Championship in Washington, DC to head out to Atlantic City, home of the names of the properties on the boardgame of Monopoly. We shot footage along the Boardwalk, interviewed the Chairman of the Atlantic City Historical Museum, and got footage of all of the street signs for the streets that still exist. (St. Charles Place has been turned into a valet parking lot and Illinois Ave has been renamed to Martin Luther King, Jr Blvd.) We also drove down south of Atlantic City to Margate to get footage of Marven Gardens, the small community where Mr. Monopoly lives. A few of the residents there have even incorporated the property style deeds into their house address signs.
April 16, 2009 - The US Championship started out with the first 90-minute round taking place at the official hotel, the Sheraton National in Arlington, VA. Finalists played using the new speed die rules which come with the "Green Box" edition of the game, and it really introduced a lot more luck into the game. Not a single one of the players whom I would have expected to win a game in the first round did, and reigning champion Matt McNally was the first to go bankrupt at his table in the first round.
For the second day, play moved to the Main Hall of Union Station, a beautiful setting, but a little dark as most of the lighting comes from skylights and it was an overcast and rainy day. Finalists played another two 90-minute rounds to determine who the four top players would be to compete in the championship match. After the 2nd round, there was a 12-way tie for first place with 28 points (you earn 28 points by bankrupting all of your opponents before 90 minutes is up), so it was really anyone's game at that point.
After the third round, it was announced that Richard Marinaccio, a lawyer from upstate NY, Bob Baker, a film student from Alabama who had filmed with one of our camcorders, Dale Crabtree, a community center staffer who I had filmed with in Indianapolis, and Tim Vandenberg, a math teacher who we've filmed with several times in Hesperia and elsewhere, would be the four competing for the US Championship and the $20,580 prize that it comes with.
The match moved along fairly quickly and in 1 hour, 15 minutes, Richard Marinaccio was triumphant. When we asked other finalists about Rick, it was apparent to us that he had played under the radar, but was still a great player who deserved to win. The US Championship shows us that even the greatest of players and the hours of preparation can be laid to rest by the whims of the dice. Now Rick will begin to prepare over the coming months for the chance to compete for the World Monopoly Championship in October in Las Vegas.
April 12, 2009 - A few of our camera operators and I traveled to various cities around the country to film profiles with as many of the US finalists as possible prior to the US Championship in DC. We filmed interviews throughout the LA area, up in Portland, OR and I even went out to Indiana and Illinois to film with 3 finalists out there as well as a competitor from the 2003 competition. Jordan and I also arrived in DC early to film with a finalist from Arlington, VA.
Even though non-stop traveling was very tiring, it was a great experience to get to spend time with so many of the finalists and I think the relationships I established with them were crucial in getting great footage with the finalists both before and at the competition as we had already developed a good rapport and most of them felt comfortable sharing their strategies with us.
For contestants who were too remote or not convenient for us to film with in the short window we had prior to the competition, we sent our small HD camcorders to an additional 10 of the finalists, allowing us to get some footage of them at home or at work without us sending an actual crew to them. We then supplemented their footage by filming interviews with all 28 of the contestants once they arrived in Washington DC.
April 5, 2009 - We hired a cameraman in Singapore to tape the 2009 Singapore MONOPOLY Championship, including the first day of competition, where they had 8 qualifying heats, each with 120 competitors playing in 30 simultaneous games! The top 64 players then played in Quarterfinals the next morning with a winner determined by that evening. The footage looks great and since Singapore is an English-speaking country, we won't even need subtitles to incorporate that footage into the film.
March 22, 2009 - Jordan and I headed to Acapulco, Mexico to film at the Mexican Monopoly Championship. The 8 finalists for Mexico, who were picked based on an online mini-game competition, spent the weekend truly getting to "live like millionaires" - they had staff waiting on them hand and foot, whatever they wanted to drink or eat, driving Spider bikes and SeaDoos, and got to stay at a beautiful house/condo at Real Diamante, an exclusive resort just south of Acapulco. Even their rooms were decked with out giant cutouts of Mr Monopoly and there was Monopoly money all over the place.
Similarly to Australia, they also played two 1-hour rounds of speed die Monopoly to determine their champion and the winner of their event, Juan Carlos Larios, clearly was the one who deserved to win based on his gameplay. Juan specializes in winning online promotions and has won trips all over the world; now he has won a trip for 2 to Las Vegas for the World Championship this October!
March 12, 2009 - Did you try to qualify for the US MONOPOLY Championship? How did you do? We did some filming with Tim Vandenberg and Mark Bell a couple days ago as they completed the online quiz and essays in a hopes to qualify for the next round of qualifying for the US MONOPOLY Championship. We also sent Kodak Zi6 cameras to players all across the United States to get additional footage with players who we think could have a decent chance of bringing home the championship. A few days from now, we'll find out who has qualified for the semi-final online round and will do some more filming with players from all over the country as the quest continues for the 2009 US MONOPOLY Championship.
March 6, 2009 - Well, that's a wrap for our filming in Australia. Tomorrow, Kevin heads back to the States after spending the week in Melbourne filming the Australian MONOPOLY Championship held at the Eureka Tower Skydeck, 285m above the ground. We got to shoot interviews and footage prior to the start of the match with all of the finalists.
The finals went by really quickly as it was just 8 competitors playing in two 1-hour rounds of Speed Die-rules MONOPOLY. Defending Champion Leon Hechtman was victorious once again and will represent Australia in the 2009 World Championship in Las Vegas, even though he had never played a game of MONOPOLY with the Speed Die rules prior to the Aussie Championship. Best of luck in Vegas, Leon!
February 25, 2009 - If you ever wanted to be the US Monopoly Champion and have the opportunity to win a place at the 2009 World Monopoly Championship, now's your chance!
February 12, 2009 - We are just a few weeks away from filming at the first of several MONOPOLY Championships around the world. On February 27, Kevin will be heading to Melbourne, Australia to film at the 2009 Australia MONOPOLY Championship on March 4, 2009. 6 State Champs will take on the defending Australia Champion as well as a wild-card competitor who was selected based on her essay about why she'd be a great competitor.
February 7, 2009 - Tim Vandenberg, a teacher at Carmel Elementary, in Hesperia, CA, was in town today to present at the Greater San Diego Math Conference about teaching probability through the fun of family games such as MONOPOLY. We were on hand to get some more footage with Tim as he explained to math teachers ways to get their students excited about probability and statistics.
December 16, 2008 - We went to Los Angeles today to film an interview with Masiela Lusha, accomplished actress and poet, at the historic Bullocks Wilshire building. Masiela is a huge fan of MONOPOLY and learned about the importance of investing while not overextending yourself at a very early age, thanks to MONOPOLY. Masiela is best known for her role as the daughter, Carmen, on ABC's "George Lopez" and will be appearing in Universal's "Blood: The Last Vampire" coming out soon.
December 4, 2008 - Matt McNally was in Orange County to visit with Jason, Cory and Shana, three of his closest friends and Monopoly training partners. We shot some great footage of the three of them relaxing and playing a game of Monopoly, and also shot interviews with Jason, Cory, and Shana about their experiences with Matt and the game of MONOPOLY. All of them are also interested in trying to compete at the US Monopoly Championship in April once details are released how to qualify.
November 21, 2008 - Today, Jordan and I drove out to Carmel Elementary in Hesperia, CA to film with Tim Vandenberg, a math teacher who uses MONOPOLY to teach math concepts to his students. Tim has been recognized as a unique and innovative teacher for his methods and has spoken at a conference regarding his techiques. Additionally, Matt McNally, the defending US MONOPOLY champion, came by the school to talk to the kids about his experiences, how goal-setting was very important to him, and to challenge Tim's math class to a fun game of MONOPOLY. It's amazing to see how elementary kids can use the game to really learn math concepts as well as the bigger lessons that they take home from the game. You can read more about the day's events on the Hesperia Star's writeup of the day by clicking here.
October 17, 2008 - I have just crossed the border back into the United States from Vancouver, Canada. Today, Leon Vandendooren was on hand to compete in the finals of the "McDonalds MONOPOLY Media Challenge for Charity," a special MONOPOLY tournament to kick-off the MONOPOLY at McDonalds promotion in Canada. They invited 20 local media personalities to compete and the winner received $10,000 for the charity of his/her choice. Phil Orbanes was also flown in to officiate the event. I got a lot of great footage and look forward to filming Leon in action at the 2009 Canada MONOPOLY Championship in Montreal in May 2009.
September 17, 2008 - The MONOPOLY Documentary is going global. A month from today we'll be filming in Vancouver, Canada at a McDonalds/MONOPOLY charity tournament featuring defending Canadian MONOPOLY Champion Leon Vandendooren playing in the finals and being judged by none other than Phil Orbanes. The tournament will be played by local media personalities.
August 11, 2008 - Today Jordan and I had the privilege of filming with Lee Bayrd, the very first World MONOPOLY Champion. Lee, representing the Western US, won over two other US Reps and a European Rep to become the 1973 World MONOPOLY Champion. He also competed at the 1977 World Championship and still competes at tournaments every now and again.
We also filmed with Mark Bell, a middle school teacher who based on your response to his asking of "What's your favorite Monopoly?", he will make certain assumptions regarding your knowledge of the game and will adjust his strategy accordingly.
August 6, 2008 - For those of you who are in the United Kingdom, registration has begun for the UK Regional MONOPOLY Championships. They start as soon as 16 August, so don't hesitate to sign up today! You can register at UKChampionships.Monopoly.com.
July 28, 2008 - Today I had the privilege of shooting with Randolph P. Barton (Ranny) in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. He had some great stories of how the MONOPOLY tournaments first came to be as well as shared some of his experiences as President of Parker Brothers. One of his favorite stories involved sending $1,000,000 in MONOPOLY money via plane to replenish a marathon MONOPOLY tournament, which was then taken in a armored truck with police escort to be delivered to the game.
June 28, 2008 - Filmed at the 2nd Annual BSA MONOPOLY Tournament in Thousand Oaks, California. At the tournament, I got great footage of various scouts playing MONOPOLY as well as a few MONOPOLY pros who competed in the tournament including Ken Koury (a former US finalist), Gary Heller (competed at past US Championships), and Geoff Ellis and family.
Lee Bayrd, the 1973 World Champion, was on hand with his Charles B. Darrow Trophy to serve as Chief Judge and give a tips and strategy session before the start of the tournament. Geoff Ellis ended up taking 1st at the tournament, repeating as champion of the BSA MONOPOLY Tournament. For info on next year's tournament currently scheduled for May 23, 2009, visit BSAMonopoly.com.
June 20, 2008 - Jordan and I were in Vegas to film with Matt McNally, the 2003 US MONOPOLY Champion who will be defending his title in Washington DC at the US Championships in April 2009. Matt truly was an ambassador to the game who understood all the ins and outs of playing the game as well as having the composure to represent the game of MONOPOLY to the world.
May 16, 2008 - Tom Kochem and I commenced filming on Under the Boardwalk today. Our first interview was with Phil Orbanes, President of Winning Moves Games and a former Vice President of Parker Brothers. Some of you may also know him as the Chief Judge at the US & World MONOPOLY Championships over the last 30 years. Through research for his two books about the game of MONOPOLY as well as his long tenure at Parker Brothers, Phil has uncovered some remarkable stories about the history of MONOPOLY which we shared with us. You can view a clip of some of his interview on our Video page.
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Background photos in the header are used under a CC license from Mark Strozier. Emmy® and the Emmy Statuette are the trademark property Of ATAS/NATAS. HASBRO, PARKER BROTHERS, the MONOPOLY name and logo, the distinctive design of the game board, the four corner squares, the MR. MONOPOLY name and character, as well as each of the distinctive elements of the board and playing pieces are trademarks of Hasbro for its property trading game and game equipment. © 2011 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.