I want to give credit where credit is due. I would like to thank Dusan Langura for sharing his story with me and giving me this opportunity. I also want to thank Joe Winkenwerder for taking charge as the director and for being the reality check for the film. And last, I want to give credit to Kobe Bryant who taught me throughout my life that when you fall, both literally and figuratively, just pick yourself up and keep shooting.
My parents still tell me to this day that my biggest weakness is jumping into a situation without completely thinking about what the consequence will be.
Don’t get me wrong; I’ve gotten myself into some pretty sticky situations due to a lack of drawing up consequences. But I have also experienced some of my biggest success from the same process.
So when I was asked by a friend of mine to make a documentary I automatically dove in. “Sure, why not. It’s going to be fun.” One-year later, countless hours of hard work and a dozen reality checks later: it was fun. My happy-go-lucky attitude helped me make a movie that hopefully will bring inspiration to all of those who watch it.
You’re probably wondering what this film is about. And the answer is, like any good film, it’s complicated.
Dusan Langura, a UGA graduate and former basketball player, has walked a path that few, if any would have chosen.
A High School star: he was given multiple offers to play Division One Basketball. Yet he chose to play as a walk-on at UGA.
He could have given up on his dream, but he decided that would have been too easy. He rehabbed his injury and was a member of the team from 2013 until his graduation in 2015.
The film documents his path to America, his time in the military and how he persevered to be a member of the UGA Basketball team.
I was fortunate to meet Dusan Langura in the spring of my junior year in an international affairs class. I was immediately impressed by his humility and drive to succeed. But little did I know, there was much more to him than met the eye.
Excuse the cliché phrase. But Langura, a then 20-year-old basketball player for the University of Georgia, was rehabbing a torn ACL and numerous head injures as a result of a military accident while serving his native Switzerland involving an Improvised Explosive Device.
First, by the matter-of-fact tone in his voice and most importantly by the story’s authoritative voice. It was as if he was saying “Yes this happened, but where I go is up to me.” He would tell me every day of the small victories during his rehabilitation sessions. I will never forget when he told me that he was two percent away from favoring both knees equally.
As our friendship grew, we discussed more than just International Affairs and his rehab. We talked about our families and the state of the NBA and NFL. Dusan and I had become close friends. I will never forget the rainy April day when Dusan approached me to make the documentary.
“Bro, someone needs to make a movie of this. I want to.” Dusan told me.
“I know man, it should be a 30 for 30 or something. ESPN should do it.”
“ESPN? Why would I want ESPN to do this. They wouldn’t tell it the way it should be told. I want you to do it.”
Without asking why, I took the task on the spot. And now you’re asking, why did I take on the task of making a movie without knowing a single thing about video production?
Knowledge will come later, research will come later, and the most important thing is the drive to try new things. During the first few weeks of this project, as I mentioned before, I didn’t have a clue of how to even get started. It was almost as if the project started by accident.
It was the week after Spring Break and I was still on holiday. It was a Friday and I made a 2 p.m. trip to the Volstead, a local watering hole in Athens with one of my friends who knew the Athletic Department inside and out. Was the meeting productive? I honestly can’t tell you if it was. But it was a meeting afterward that was probably one of the key reasons for why this project hit the ground running.
After I left Volstead, I headed over to my friend’s place and I was loudly pitching the documentary when I was stopped in the middle of my speech.
“Dude, I added a film major we need to talk about this later.”
The voice was that of Joe Winkenwerder, a friend of mine since my freshman year and the director of this production.
Later on I did speak to Joe. And it turned out we both needed each other. I needed someone who was experienced with a camera and a reality check for whenever my ideas became too extravagant.
Eventually, all three of us (Dusan, Joe and I) met and spoke about the direction of the documentary. We spent countless hours making and rewriting scripts, we sent multiple emails to the amazing staff members of the University of Georgia who have been nothing but helpful to us and we have spent many hours filming a story that hopefully will bring some good into this university that we know so well and love.
Yes, I may be loud and I may jump into situations without thinking of the consequences. Yet, I still live and die by that sword. This experience with two of my closest friends has taught me to always move forward with your dreams and never be afraid to ask for help.
To follow our adventures during the filming and editing of the documentary follow us on twitter and Instagram @supertightprod