Hormesis Paintball is partnering with Hurrdat Films to produce a documentary feature on the Ironkids, the amateur team from the late 1990s that would eventually birth San Diego Dynasty—the most successful team in professional paintball history.
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Dan Napoli (50 Summers, Best Kids In Texas) is set to direct the feature. Production began last week in Carson City, Nevada, and Marin County, California. Sami Ansari is serving as Director of Photography with additional cinematography from Christopher Dilts.
“The Ironkids story has never been told in a complete way, which has inspired us to share it with the world,” said Hormesis co-founder and professional paintball player Alex Fraige. “It was an easy and natural choice to work with Hurrdat Films and Dan Napoli as they have done great work in and out of the paintball arena. The people involved truly care and I know that we will make something that will do our story justice.”
The documentary will focus on the origin story of the San Diego Dynasty, and the “Ironkids”—the team of teenagers that played together for only a single season in 1999 and then went on to form the winningest team in Professional paintball history.
“To be clear, this is not the definitive San Diego Dynasty story,” Napoli said. He has directed three other films covering different periods of Dynasty’s career. “Think of this film as a precursor or more of a prequel to anything that’s been done before.”
“When it comes to the Ironkids, I think there’s as much myth as truth, and that’s interesting to explore,” said Napoli. “People can’t even agree on exactly when the Ironkids start and stop, on whether it was just a team or mindset. I think that’s fascinating right there. Even the origin of the name is controversial.”
The project marks the first name Napoli will produce new material from the world of professional paintball in six years.
“It’s easy to forget because it hit Amazon & iTunes in 2020, but we actually started the [Best Kids in Texas] doc in 2016. I honestly didn’t know if I’d ever do another [documentary from the world of paintball]. But there was a shortlist of stories, mostly historical, I had an interest in, and the Ironkids was a million percent one of them.”
Chatter for the project began last summer, as Hormesis sold limited edition headbands throughout the summer of 2021 to help raise the production budget, which they achieved in under 6 weeks.
“I am grateful and excited that this project is in the works. The fact that the paintball community came together to help us tell our story makes it extremely meaningful,” said Fraige.
The film’s goal is to emphasize the Hormesis brand’s focus on authenticity and meaningfulness instead of budgets, deadlines, and release distribution.
“It’s just an incredible opportunity to be able to share this story of that one special year that turned out to be much, much more than just winning a few tournaments as the Ironkids,” said co-founder and retired professional Oliver Lang. “It was a monumental year for all who were involved, and its essence is still permeating the hearts of the paintball community today.”
Fraige and Lang will also serve as producers on the project.
Not only will the film cover the team’s journey in paintball and winning tournaments, but will also explore deeper themes like growing up in the mid/late 90s. Napoli is very in tune with this deeper focus.
“I’m a different filmmaker than I was six years ago. Hopefully, I’m a better one,” Napoli said. “Our whole team is. We are constantly leveling up our work. It’s exciting but also totally humbling to be asked to tell this story. The Ironkids are sacred ground in the world of paintball. We know this team and story means so much to people – I mean people who weren’t even alive when the team was a thing buy headbands that say ‘Ironkids’ on it if that tells you anything.”
The Ironkids documentary is slated for a Fall 2022 release and an approximate runtime of an hour. Distribution has not been announced yet.
Currently, Hurrdat Films has two other documentaries slated for release in 2022; a feature on the journey of Bellator MMA Bantamweight contender Raufeon Stots, and a music-based documentary short.
In addition, the company is also producing two limited series podcasts, Reel Life, featuring interviews with other documentary filmmakers, and Yellin’ In My Ear, a look back at influential music, movies, television, and pop-culture events from the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Subscribe to the Reel Life or Yellin In’ My Ear podcasts on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.