Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story

Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story

Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story

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Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story (2010/2011)

Opened: 03/04/2011 Limited

UltraStar03/04/2011 - 03/10/20117 days
Quad Cinema/NYC05/06/2011 - 05/12/20117 days

Trailer: Click for trailers

Websites: Home, Twitter, Facebook

Genre: Documentary

Rated: Unrated


The classic board game that has been played by over a billion people in the last 75 years, MONOPOLY® is a worldwide cultural phenomenon. "Under the Boardwalk: The MONOPOLY Story" is a feature-length documentary that captures fascinating stories about the game and those who play it, with narration provided by Zachary Levi, star of NBC's "Chuck" and the recent Disney animated film, "Tangled."

"Under the Boardwalk" focuses on the MONOPOLY national and world championships that are held around the world every four years. Leading up to the exciting coronation of a new champion at the most recent World Championship in Las Vegas, the filmmakers follow some of the most colorful players in the game, including:

  • Matt, the defending U.S. champion, who tries to earn another trip to the World Championship, along with his girlfriend, a Las Vegas showgirl.
  • Dominic, who won the Rhode Island state championship in 1995 as a 14-year-old, and has always dreamed of becoming world champion.
  • Rick, a lawyer from Buffalo who wants to win the prize money so he and his fiance can buy their first house.
  • Ken, who trained for 12 hours a day during his summers in college in the 70s, and has been trying to win a national championship ever since.
  • Tim, a teacher in California who has used the math skills learned from MONOPOLY to help his sixth-graders achieve record test scores.
  • Bjorn, a 19-year-old student from Norway out to prove that a teenager can beat the seasoned veterans.
  • Geoff, a banker from New Zealand whose nickname is The Nimble Thimble (TNT for short, because TNT goes boom!).

In addition to the competitive arena, the game of MONOPOLY provides a wealth of other interesting stories. Few people realize that the game began as an anti-capitalist political platform thirty years before it evolved into a game about getting rich and took the world by storm in the depths of the Great Depression. This documentary looks at how MONOPOLY was transformed and why it has become so popular. The game is now sold in over 110 countries around the world in 40 different languages.

The filmmakers investigate the psychology of the game, and game experts let viewers in on the best strategies for winning.

As a cultural phenomenon, MONOPOLY has a colorful history, including secretly helping WWII POWs escape, influencing movies and television since its inception, and being part of all kinds of interesting world records and trivia. (The longest underwater game is over 72 hours, and the longest continuous game lasted 70 straight days.) And no film about this classic board game would be complete without meeting a few of the quirky collectors of all things MONOPOLY.

MONOPOLY began by bringing friends and families together, and now, through its universal language and World Championships, helps bring the whole world together. Filming locations included the U.S., Canada, Mexico, U.K., Norway, Japan, Singapore and Australia. Anchoring the film is Phil Orbanes, a former Sr. VP at Parker Brothers, author of 3 MONOPOLY books, and current Chief MONOPOLY Judge.

Director's Statement

As a kid growing up, MONOPOLY was a game that always present in my house. It's probably one of the first games that I played in which I had to handle cash as well as have to negotiate trades with my opponents. By the time I was 12, I could no longer get my family to play with me as they felt I took the game too seriously. It even got to the point where I was studying The Monopoly Companion written by Phil Orbanes, to try and prepare myself to be able to compete at the next US Monopoly Championship. And yes, they actually have national and world championships for the game of Monopoly every 4 years. "Under the Boardwalk: The MONOPOLY Story" arose out of my passion for Monopoly as well as my desire to capture and create compelling stories to share with audiences.

With MONOPOLY having recently celebrated its 75th anniversary of the game first being released by Parker Brothers, it's a great time to reflect on how Monopoly has become a part of our global culture and continues to bring families together (and sometimes tears them apart) around the board game. In all my travels for the film, no matter where I went, I could always find someone who knew the game of Monopoly, and while they may have been speaking a different language, the game is played the same around the world and serves as its own language.

It's somewhat surprising how many exciting things Monopoly has been a part of over the years. For instance, during World War II, the Red Cross brought sets of Monopoly to POW camps that contained hidden maps, compasses, and currency to help the prisoners escape. People also go out of their way to set wild and wacky Monopoly records: longest game in an elevator, longest underwater game, the world's largest permanent Monopoly board. And collecting the thousands of different Monopoly editions has truly become its own passion for many fans of the game.

During the three years we spent making this documentary, we filmed in nine countries all over the world, 19 US states and DC, and shot over 300 hours of footage. Along the way, there were so many great stories that we captured and it's always a challenge to figure out which stories are the most compelling ones to share with our audiences. As a big fan of the game myself, it's been a lot of fun to get to spend time and form friendships with some of the best players from all over the globe, and I've finally begun competing in local tournaments myself to see if I can put into practice the many tips and tricks I've learned about how to improve my Monopoly game play.

The film premiered at the Anaheim International Film Festival on October 15th, 2010 where it won the Audience Award for Best Documentary. It also has screened at the Austin Film Festival and will next be seen at the Sedona International Film Festival. We will be opening the film theatrically in select US cities in May 2011. Anyone interested in finding out more about how they can see our film in the coming months can follow us on Twitter (@MonopolyDoc) or join our mailing list at MonopolyDocumentary.com.

--Kevin Tostado

Filmmaker Biographies

Kevin Tostado (Director/Producer)

Kevin Tostado is the founder of Tostie Productions, a high definition film and video production company based in San Diego, California. He was a member of the inaugural class at Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts. While in his senior year of college, he co-wrote and directed a full-length independent feature, Yellow Lights. This movie took home awards for "Best Feature" and "Best Cinematography" from Indie Fest USA 2007 as well as Telly and DV Awards. Recently, Kevin has worked as a camera operator, director of photography, and assistant director on music videos, webisodes for NBC's Heroes, police training videos, webisodes for AT&T featuring paralympic athlete April Holmes, Disney Channel commercials, and independent short films. Kevin's favorite MONOPOLY token is the iron.

Craig Bentley (Producer)

Craig is president of Imageworks, a video production company he founded in San Diego in 1986. He received a film and television degree from San Diego State University, where he graduated with distinction in the major field. While at SDSU, he was chosen by the American Cinema Editors as one of the top three student editors in the nation. In the 80s, Craig managed one of the first interactive video networks in the industry for a national home center chain. Since founding Imageworks, he has written, produced and directed a wide variety of videos for clients such as Coca-Cola, VISA and IBM. Industry recognition includes Tellys, Auroras and Communicator awards.

Stephen Nemeth (Executive Producer)

Stephen formed and heads up Rhino Films, the independent film company that originated as a division of iconoclastic record label Rhino Records. He has produced ten films and executive produced fourteen others. He is also working with Amnesty International through Artists for Amnesty on developing and producing human rights related projects. His Producer credits include Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, Dogtown and Z Boys, What We Do Is Secret, and the upcomingYou and I, and Radio Free Albemuth. Nemeth executive produced the documentaryWar/Dance which was nominated for a 2008 Academy Award for Best Documentary;Fuel which won the Audience Award at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival; Flow which was screened at both the Democratic and Republican Conventions, and Pick Up The Mic, which premiered at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival. Nemeth is in production on numerous other documentaries including Beisbol, Climate Refugees,White Man's Burden and films about George Plimpton, Budd Schulberg, artist Robert Williams, and new wave band Devo.

He serves on the boards of the Woodstock Film Festival, the Wildlife Ecostation, Wheels For Humanity, Children Uniting Nations, Shine On Sierra Leone, OneVoice, the Hollywood Film Festival, the Veggie Van Organization, and the One Second Film Foundation, and is a consultant for Admetech, a prostate cancer research foundation at the Harvard Medical School.

Jordan Guzzardo (Director of Photography)

Jordan, a San Diego native, graduated with honors from San Diego State University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Television, Film, and New Media and a Minor in Theatre with an emphasis on Directing. While at SDSU, Jordan had the opportunity to produce, direct, DP and/or write over 20 short films including producing the Kodak 35mm Award winning short film Change of Address and co-producing the international 2007 Student Emmy winning short For the Oysters. Since graduating, Jordan has been working professionally in the television & film industry holding various positions from Assistant to the Producer of the highly praised television series Veronica Mars, as well as Set Decorator on the 2008 feature-length Imax documentary Proud American, and recently as Co-Creator & Editor of the acclaimed video-art installation Army of Icons, a part of the bi-national, San Diego-Tijuana based Adapta Project. Jordan recently co-produced, edited and shot a series of webisodes for the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in conjunction with their 2008 season and is busily working as the Co-Producer & Director of Photography on the international feature-length documentary Sea Gypsies: Seven Giant Waves, a film about the cultural devastation of one of the last indigenous people of Thailand.

Larry Groupe (Composer)

Larry Groupe is one of the most talented and versatile composers working today in the entertainment industry. With an impressive musical resume in film and television as well as the concert stage, his achievements have received both critical praise and popular acclaim.

Larry has completed his latest score for "Nothing but the Truth" starring Kate Beckinsale, Matt Dillon and Alan Alda. A compelling political drama about first amendment rights. This follows on the heels of "Resurrecting the Champ" starring Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Hartnett. This is another collaboration with writer-director Rod Lurie. Their next venture together is "Straw Dogs" set for the September of 2011.

Most notably, he wrote the score for The Contender starring Joan Allen, Gary Oldman and Jeff Bridges, a highly regarded political drama written and directed by Rod Lurie, which received multiple Academy Award nominations. Larry also enjoyed special recognition for his score of Lurie's earlier release, "Deterrence", a doomsday thriller starring Kevin Pollack and Timothy Hutton.

Cast Biographies

Zachary Levi (Narrator)

Zachary Levi provides the narration for Under the Boardwalk: The MONOPOLY Story. Levi's exuberance and charm have made him a preferred first pick in Hollywood and a favorite among his devoted fans. He also stars in NBC's acclaimed action-comedy series Chuck as Chuck Bartowski, the charming computer geek turned government agent, and appeared in the 20th Century Fox film Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. Additionally, he plays the lead role opposite Mandy Moore in Disney's newest animated film, Tangled.

Levi grew up in Ventura County, California. He began acting in theater at the early age of six, performing lead roles in regional productions such as "Grease," "The Outsiders," "Oliver," "Godspell," "The Wizard of Oz," "Big River," and "Marvin's Room." As a devoted philanthropist, Levi is committed to serving his community. He resides in Los Angeles.

Phil Orbanes (Monopoly History Advisor)

Phil Orbanes is currently president of the specialty games company Winning Moves. Phil is a former Senior Vice President of Research and Development for Parker Brothers and is widely regarded as the leading expert on the game of MONOPOLY. Phil has published two books about the all-time best selling board game: The Monopoly Companion & Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game and How it Got that Way, as well as a book about the history of Parker Brothers titled The Game Makers. Phil also serves as a historical consultant for Hasbro Games, current owners of Parker Brothers, and as chief judge at the U.S. and World MONOPOLY Championships.