Favre and the filmmaker at Fan Fest 2005.
When Todd McWilliams lived in Iowa, he got to know crew members working on the 1989 cornfield-to-ballfield classic Field of Dreams. Inspired, he bought an HDX camera and learned how to make movies.
Years later, McWilliams is prepping for the world premiere of his first film, a documentary titled Finding Favre: A Mostly True Story About Brett Favre at the Barrymore Theatre on Tuesday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m. A meet-and-greet and discussion will follow.
Finding Favre was shot over almost 20 years and chronicles the 52-year-old’s one-sided bromance with former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre. Footage includes the filmmaker’s own pursuit of both an NFL career and an interview with the elusive Hall of Famer.
“When somebody plays on the same team for 16 years, he really becomes a part of your life,” says McWilliams, who estimates he spent about $20,000 on the film, which Favre declined to appear in.
McWilliams tracked down plenty of other people with connections to Favre, though — including his mother, Bonita; former Packers chairman and CEO Bob Harlan; general manager Ron Wolf; head coach Mike Sherman; and Jim Carmody, who recruited Favre to the University of Southern Mississippi in 1987.
McWilliams, who is married with two teenagers and is general manager at Adams Outdoor Advertising, also interviewed former Green Bay kicker Ryan Longwell (who, like Favre, ended up playing for the Minnesota Vikings). Other former Packers opted not to speak on camera. “They didn’t want to say anything, especially negative, because they worried it would get back to Favre,” McWilliams says. “It’s a boy’s club, and you don’t talk about things like that unless you have permission.”
Isthmus has only seen the film’s trailer, but McWilliams says he shot his own footage of Favre beginning at the 2005 Packers Fan Fest through his 2016 induction into the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
In Canton, McWilliams made one final, unsuccessful request to interview Favre. “I originally thought I needed the interview, but I went to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, last year and talked with independent filmmakers who suggested I just make the movie without him,” says McWilliams, who nevertheless invited Favre to the premiere; two complimentary tickets are waiting at the Barrymore.
“I don’t know what people will think of this movie,” McWilliams admits. “But I’ve never seen anything like it.”