The 90-minute film will be shown at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, August 4 in the Philanthropy Theatre, which is inside the Plaza Theater Performing Arts Centre annex. Steve Kaplowitz of ESPN Radio 600 will conduct a Q&A with Hanna after the screening.
Now or Never: A Tony Romo Story examines Romo’s rise from an unassuming, multiple sports star of Mexican heritage in Burlington, Wisconsin, to stardom as the quarterback and on-field leader of the Dallas Cowboys.
Now retired, Romo is a star football analyst for CBS Sports.
Hanna is a veteran of the Plaza Classic Film Festival’s Local Flavor series. He interviewed Romo as well as family members, and former players and coaches from his high school and college days. He is hosting a private screening for Romo and his family and friends later this month in Burlington, with another screening later in Dallas.
“As a lifelong fan of sports and the Cowboys, I always wanted to combine this passion with my love for film,” Hanna said. “After reading an article on Tony Romo and his perceived failures, I was inspired to make a film which would give his life and career justice. It has been a long journey, and a true honor to tell Tony Romo’s story through his family and community. As a product of both Mexico and the USA, it has been a privilege to tell a story which has ties to both countries. I am excited to show our documentary in my hometown of El Paso, as well as in Tony Romo’s communities of Burlington, Wisconsin, and Dallas.”
This year’s Plaza Classic Film Festival will include guest appearances by Katharine Ross and Sam Elliott with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (7 p.m. August 2) and The Legacy (3:30 p.m. August 3), and author Victoria Riskin with The Wedding March (1 p.m. August 6), King Kong (7 p.m. August 6) and You Can’t Take It With You (1 p.m. August 7).
Among the more than 90 movies planned for this year are an 80th anniversary showing of The Wizard of Oz (7 p.m. August 10), a 60th anniversary showing of Some Like It Hot (7 p.m. August 1), a new 4K restoration of 2001: A Space Odyssey (7 p.m. August 4), and My Fair Lady (1 p.m. August 11).
This year’s themes include space exploration, the year 1969, United Artists’ 100th anniversary and lots of musicals! Click here for more details.
Festival passes are on sale now. Individual tickets go on sale July 2 at the Plaza Theatre Box Office.
We all know who Tony Romo is, right? Past quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. I’m sure we all know people that can quote his career highlights as if it were scripture:
4× Pro Bowl (2006, 2007, 2009, 2014)
Second-team All-Pro (2014)
NFL passer rating leader (2014)
Walter Payton Award (2002)
2× OVC champion (2001, 2002)
3× OVC Player of the Year (2000–2002)
3× First-team All-OVC (2000–2002)
Yet, there are still things to learn about Tony Romo, beyond the stats, highlights, and the fact he didn’t’ win a Superbowl.
To be transparent here, I’m not a fan of the Cowboys or Tony Romo. But even I was amazed at some of the things I’ve learned about him from Chris Hanna, Nina Hedberg, and Rebecca Garcia.
Just who are Chris, Nina and Rebecca and what can they tell us about Tony Romo? I’m glad you were thinking that. They are the people behind ZGN Productions and a forthcoming documentary entitled Now or Never: A Tony Romo Story.
So, why a documentary about Tony Romo? That was the first question I asked Hanna.
“I’ve always wanted to tell a story regarding one of probably my most favorite sport in the world,” said Chris. “You know, growing up a Dallas Cowboys fan with my family at 11 years old, I didn’t get to live the Troy Aikman era and the Roger Staubach era. All I knew was the Tony Romo era because I was living it. So, watching Tony Romo grind and fight, fail and succeed and get back up, come back down and get back up. It was inspiring seeing that no matter how much bad or how much negative was around Tony Romo, all Tony Romo knew was to get back up and keep on fighting.”
Hanna shared that the Romo’s fighting spirit was overshadowed by his perception of being a loser. Something Cowboy fans readily share.
“What did he really do?” asked Rick Hernandez. “He filled a space, and nothing more.”
“Not only is someone going to waste film on this loser, but you are going to waste ‘digital ink’ writing about someone making a film about this loser?”
That’s Beth – never one to hold back. “Romo was the death of the Cowgirls. Period.”
Still, there are things about Tony Romo that none of us know. The biggest one, His paternal grandfather comes from Mexico.
“One of the most surprising things that I found out about Tony Romo is that he’s not far from a lot of El Pasoans. You know, people from here, from El Paso in Texas that come from immigrant families,” says Hanna. “And that’s what I feel was the most surprising to me is that Tony Romo actually has a strong Mexican American background.”
Ramiro Romo, Sr. was born and raised in Mexico. He worked as a farmer and shoe shiner just so he could give back to his family. Eventually, he migrated to the United States.
This past, this history speaks to Romo’s work ethic. As others have said, he’s a glorified loser. Yet, just like his grandfather, he never gave up. He never quit.
So how soon will we be able to see this documentary? I know they are aiming for Summer of this year.
“As production, we are in the end stages already. What we’re really working on is a couple of bits and pieces here and there going back and making sure that our edits are where we want them to be. We’re also working on getting NFL licenses and the music licenses as well to be able to send this to film festivals already. So, we are already at the end stages, but we’re working to fundraise, and we have an Indiegogo campaign out to see if we can raise some funds to get that finished,” says Rebecca Garcia, associate producer for the film.
“At the end of the day, what we want to do is show this and screen this to the community here in El Paso and in Burlington, Wisconsin,” said Rebecca.
“You know, for me, it’s like I was never able to play football. I’ve always loved football. But then I got into filmmaking, and I found a way of still doing something related to football with the best thing I could. And for me that was filming,” says Chris Hanna as we were closing out our interview.
“That’s what I want people to understand that there is, there’s always a way to go, you know, above or below or around or in between the system. And you’re not always going to be able to open the front door and right walk in. You have to find doors all over the place and eventually and one will open. And you’ll be able to do something related to what you love and what you’re passionate about. And you’re just have to rally a whole team of people that believe in you, believe in your story. And eventually, they’ll believe in it.”
Tony Romo’s grandfather followed his dream of coming to the United States in order to make a better life for his family. Romo followed his dream of being a football player and now, Hanna has also followed his dream of filmmaking – with the El Paso Media Fest and again with Now or Never: A Tony Romo Story.