ELIZABETH, NJ - “The City Behind Us: The Story of the Elmora Troopers” was named Best New Jersey Film at the Monmouth Film Festival virtual awards ceremony on August 16.
Comedian and native New Jerseyan Mike Marino hosted the awards ceremony, which was broadcasted on the Monmouth Festival’s Facebook live. Directed by Bob Burnett and Iwonka Swenson, the short film tells the story of the Elmora Troopers Little League baseball team and their journey to the 2019 Little League World Series.
The Troopers team name comes from the field they play on, the Trooper Thomas J Hanratty Memorial Complex, named for a New Jersey State Police officer who was killed in the line of duty. Trooper Hanratty had played in the Elmora youth league and was a close friend of Mayor Bollwage who promised to build the field during his first mayoral campaign in 1992.
The film shows how committed Mayor Bollwage and the entire Elizabeth community were to supporting the Elmora Troopers. That dedication caught the attention of everyone who attended the 2019 Little League World Series.
“When the mayor himself shows up, has a bat, has a glove, and is talking about how great baseball is we can’t ask for any more support than that,” said Rob Manfred, Commissioner for Major League Baseball.
The Elmora Troopers ended up playing in four games in total before losing to the eventual Little League World Series champions from River Ridge, Louisiana.
“The City Behind Us” was also shown at the 2020 Jersey Shore Film Festival and the 2020 Woods Hole Film Festival.