The making of this film has been a very special process. Aside from being a passion project in its purest form, it is also the director’s first feature length film. Ryan Tweedy, the Director and Producer, was born in Lincoln and lived there until he was 24 and moved to Chicago and eventually found himself in Hollywood. He has always felt a special love and loyalty to both his hometown and as almost every Nebraskan, The Cornhuskers. After making this film he can assure you that being a Husker is bigger than football.
This project has always been on my mind. In 2011 I was given the opportunity to work on my first documentary film about the Dalai Lama and I met a Buddhist nun living in the Himalayan mountain range outside of Dharmsala, India. After her interview she asked where I was from and I told her I was from Nebraska. She said, “the uh, uh, uh Corn... something.” The director of that film, Khashyar Darvich, was shocked that she new of them and encouraged me to pursue this film. So I did.
When we started making this project we had no budget. Every producer who has worked on this project (and many other people) have worked for free because they believe in the point of it so much. Every interview lead to the next interview until I was in rooms with Larry the Cable Guy, Tom Osborne, Tommie Frazier and many others. Husker fans from all over the country have sent me pictures, videos, stories, shirts, and words of encouragement. People have made me logos, given me a ride in a helicopter to film Lincoln in ways it hasn’t been seen before. Sound designers and camera operators have offered me their services and the theme song of the film was written by a life long friend and husker fan who just wanted to be involved. This film isn’t only about Husker fans it’s by Husker fans. It’s a grass roots project in every possible way.
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I got my start editing films when I studied Mass Communications at Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska. Other than that I taught myself by trial and error and the occasional internet video. I like to think that the Nebraskan in me has created a do-it-yourself mentality. When people see that you are willing to work hard then they are willing to help you and I have received a lot of help. I am constantly trying to learn new things and I always surround myself with people that are better, smarter, and more creative than myself because that way I am always learning something.
You can’t talk about Husker football without talking about the game but this film’s main focus is everything that surrounds the game. The people: The fans, the players, the coaches. You follow the director on his journey. You get to be a part of private moments that people have experienced being a husker and explore all the moments that we shared together.
One of the main themes of the film is kindness and community. I received nothing but kindness from all of the communities in Nebraska as well Huskers in other states. A lot of Nebraskans rolled up their sleeves and got their hands dirty helping me make this movie. It took a community to make this film and I have nothing but gratefulness to all the Huskers I’ve met along the way.
"Through These Gates" paints a colorful, prideful and well-understood picture that every Nebraskan and Big Red fan has "hanging" in their hearts. Cornhusker Football is not just sport; it is Nebraska!
The "Through These Gates" movie had made me fondly thinking multiple times during the show "That's me as a fan" or "I remember doing that back in Nebraska". The movie just makes you feel privileged to be part of the state of Nebraska and the Husker Football tradition.
Through These Gates film was awesome! Must see for all Husker Fans! It focuses on one piece that makes UN Lincoln the best in the world, the FANS!