For one night in 2010, Bill Fong chased perfection. At that point, only 21 bowlers in history had ever notched a 900 -- three straight games of perfection, 36 straight strikes. But by his final game, with an awed crowd gathering, Fong stood on the cusp.
The incredible tale of what happened next became the basis of an award-winning magazine piece by New Times alum Michael Mooney, and then a short film by Miami Beach filmmaker Joey Daoud.
And this week, that film -- Strike -- has landed a starring role on the New York Times site as the first piece featured in a new series highlighting films that came to life through Kickstarter.
See also: Meet the Men Behind the Provocative Short Film Dolphin Lover
"It's been a ton of positive response," says Daoud, a 28-year-old Miami Beach native. "It's given the project a whole different level of exposure."
Strike's journey to the front page of the Gray Lady started in Dallas in January 2010 when Fong, a 48-year-old amateur bowler, found himself on the verge of a historic game. We won't ruin what happens next.
Mooney, a former New Times Broward-Palm Beach staff writer, picked up the tale for D Magazine two years later with a piece (justifiably) called "The Most Amazing Bowling Story Ever."
Daoud, who graduated from Florida State University's film program in 2009, says he knew he wanted to film the story as soon as he read it.
"I connected with the story right away," he says. "The twist at the end just hit me."
Daoud contacted Mooney, who co-produced the film, and got to work. He found funding for the project through Kickstarter, and debuted the piece at last year's Miami International Film Festival.
Last fall, he got a mysterious letter from the fundraising site: The New York Times was interested in collaborating with filmmakers who'd produced work through the site.
Then came Daoud's best week yet as a filmmaker. In the same week, he learned that two other films he'd collaborated on -- Dolphin Lover, the tale of a Florida man with an intimate relationship with a dolphin and Papa Machete, about Haitian machete fighting -- had been accepted to national festivals. Then the Times called: Strike would be the first film in their Kickstarter series.
Daoud says he's been inundated with emails since the video went on the site this week.
"I was honored to be the first one to kick off the series," he says. "It's far more far-reaching than any festival could be. Especially with short films, it's been great that a lot of media outlets have been getting behind shorts."
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