Ryan Tweedy knows what it means to love Husker football himself, but he wanted to know more about the culture surrounding the fandom.
That's why the former Lincoln native and Wayne State graduate chose to make a documentary film exploring the idea of what it means to be a Husker fan.
“Through These Gates” delves into the passion — and obsession — of Nebraska football fans across the country, as well as those who helped to shape the program.
“We spoke to Husker fans of every shape and size and persona from all over the country: ex-Husker players, everybody from Tommie Frazier and Tom Osborne, Jason Peter and Larry the Cable Guy. From the farmer in Hartington, Nebraska, and just the average, everyday fan at the Rose Bowl. And we talked to other fans of other programs to get their vibe on the whole situation,” Tweedy said.
He got the idea for the documentary after working on another film in India and running across someone there who wanted to talk Nebraska football with him. Tweedy said it's not uncommon to run into fellow fans in Los Angeles, where he currently lives.
“I think that's pretty special to Nebraska; I don't really see other people doing that or hear of other people doing that,” he said. “It's pretty amazing the loyalty we have, not only to the state, but to each other.”
He worked to get Husker stories from many angles, Tweedy said. The film highlights the mother of a player who is supported by the team, even after her son passed away, a former player struggling with drug addiction and the Jack Hoffman (Team Jack) family.
“It's something that we identify with that's bigger than football,” Tweedy said. “To an outside eye, it just looks like football, but it's much deeper than that. And that's what this film is about, is that culture and that connection, and why it means so much to us.”
Want to learn more? Visit www.huskerfilm.com.