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‘Tunnel’ festival honor rewarding for supporters

It was an Oscar moment, only more meaningful.

When the DocMiamidoc International Film Festival announced METV’s “Through the Tunnel” as winner for “Best Historical Documentary” on Sunday night, there was elation.

For the Lincoln Memorial High Alumni who’d taken a charter bus to the Doral Resort in North Miami for the festivities.

For METV’s production team who put together the documentary about Lincoln football at the onset of integration and the subsequent changes wrought in Manatee County football.

“When they announced, ‘... and the winner is ‘Through the Tunnel,’ you could’ve knocked me down,” said retired Judge Durand Adams, who co-produced the film with Judge Charles Williams and METV’s Charles Clapsaddle. “We were ecstatic.”

There were 100 films from 30 countries at the festival, and “Through The Tunnel” was one of three finalists at the end.

“We were just happy to be asked to the dance, just happy to be nominated,” Clapsaddle said. “To win it is very, very rewarding. There was stiff competition, some big budget films, but I think our story resonated with the panel of judges.

“It was a great thing. Good for the community, good for Coach Eddie Shannon, good for everybody.”

“Through the Tunnel” is 46 minutes in length and was narrated by Moody Johnson.

It brings viewers through the first year of integration in 1969, when Lincoln closed and its students and athletes were sent to other high schools, principally Manatee and Palmetto.

The movie’s main characters are the young men who played at Lincoln for Shannon from the mid-1950s to 1969, especially Henry Lawrence, a three-time NFL champion with the Oakland Raiders.

“It was an honor to tell their story,” Adams said. “It took longer than I thought to make a 46-minute movie, but it was worth it.”

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055, or write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, Fl. 34206 or e-mail him at vmannix@bradenton.com. Please include a phone number for verification.

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