Chinese-American Film Festival 2012 Awards "Out of Left Field-The Building of the Chinese Olympic Baseball Team" Top Honors as the 2012 Cultural Film of the Year

Share Article

"Out of Left Field, The Building of the Chinese Olympic Baseball Team", won Top Honors at the Chinese-American Film Festival, “Best Cultural Exchange Film, 2012.” This gutsy, honest and moving film tells the story of how MLB player, coach, manager Jim Lefebvre shaped a winning Chinese baseball team for the 2008 Olympics.

MLB, Chinese Baseball, Jim Lefebvre

Jim Lefebvre in his Chinese Olympic Uniform

"One of the greatest things in my baseball career has been this experience," said MLB adviser to International Player Development Jim Lefebvre.

The Chinese-American Film Festival announced the Best Cultural Exchange Film of 2012, giving top honors to the story of Major League Baseball International Baseball Consultant Jim Lefebvre and how he built the 2008 Chinese Olympic Baseball Team. The Chinese-American Film Festival is held annually and sponsored by EDI Media. Their focus is to promote films that cultural exchange between the United States and China.

Baseball has long been considered America’s Greatest Passion, but when the Chinese were awarded the honor of hosting the Olympic Games in 2008, one of the requirements was that they had to have a baseball team to compete. Since baseball has not been a sport of choice for the Chinese, it meant building a team from the ground up. So they called the Major League Baseball Commissioner and requested their help.

When Jim Lefebvre received the call, he initially turned it down. He had no time to travel to China to train a group of kids who knew nothing about baseball. But after a few more conversations he agreed to a three-month contract to help them get started. The three months turned into a five-year, sweat-and-blood, 24-hour a day project that would change the face of Chinese baseball. The medical staff lead by Dr. Thomas, was a story it self, which lead to an amazing account of trust between the two countries, changing the lives of all those involved.

Tom Jennings, an award winning documentary film maker was able to join up with the team on many of their games and practices as he traveled around for other assignments. He spent many hours documenting the project, getting to know the team members, and filming an inside view of what it was taking to make this challenge happen.

Once the team was trained, the Olympics were held and the Chinese put on what, by many accounts, the best Olympic Games in recent history, the baseball story was put aside. But Tom Jennings and Jim Lefebvre saw the value of Out of Left Field and pushed to get it completed. It was submitted to the Chinese-American Cultural Festival in 2012. The participants in this Festival are the best-of-the-best of films made in or about China, including drama, musicals, comedies and family films. They were delighted to be awarded the Best Cultural Exchange Film for 2012.

Creating the team was important-- the process was challenging-- but the results could change the relationship between the Chinese and the Americans as both sides struggle to know the other outside of the board room. And Out of Left Field allows viewers to see, feel, and experience the life lessons that are shared by both countries. This was created when two seemingly opposite personalities put their efforts together and formed one incredible baseball team.

“One of the greatest things in my baseball career has been this experience; bridging the gap between the two cultures. I saw the passion, the emotion, the love of the game that the Chinese players had for the team— the camaraderie and trust that we developed between our two countries was incredible and was definitely worth the investment and the effort. ” said Jim Lefebvre. “It is imperative that we continue our efforts to get to know one another (Americans and Chinese). I think it was an important priceless step in providing a way for our two great nations get to know each another.”

Tom Jennings, Jim Lefebvre and Andre Morgan (Ruddy Morgan Studios) are working on securing financing and talent to make Out of Left Field into a feature-length film for international distribution.

Jim Lefebvre played ball for the Dodgers becoming the Rookie of the Year in 1965; later played for the Lotte Orions in Japan; Coached the Seattle Mariners, the Cubs and the Brewers before building the Chinese Baseball Team for the 2008 Olympics.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author


Jim Lefebvre
Visit website