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Father-daughter filmmakers from Brockton win award

Liz Clancy Lerner and her father, Jack Clancy, during filming of their documtary.

Norman Lang

Liz Clancy Lerner and her father, Jack Clancy, during filming of their documtary.

FATHER AND DAUGHTER WIN FILM AWARD: When Liz Clancy Lerner was growing up in Brockton, she idolized her film-making father, Jack Clancy.  She accompanied him on shoots, and Clancy often made fun videos with and for his daughter and her friends.

She went on to get degrees in communication and broadcast journalism from Stonehill College and the University of Illinois, occasionally working with her dad on projects, including an ongoing one at the University of Massachusetts Boston, “Mass Memory,” an oral history project.

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Clancy Lerner also worked at the public-access channel in Quincy for five years, when the channel won national public access awards three times, and she won an award for a film she produced about Taiwan.

Most recently, the pair teamed up to produce “The Renegades: A Beep Ball Story,” about a Boston-based team of blind baseball players who follow beeps emitted by the baseball and run to pylon bases.

The film earned the award for Best Independent Documentary at the SNOB (Somewhat North of Boston) Film Festival in Concord, N.H.

“It’s been great, working together with him,” said Clancy Lerner, who now lives in Niskayuna, N.Y., and comes back to Brockton regularly to work with her father. “We work well together; we have a good father-daughter dynamic.”

Clancy runs Burclan Productions, a media-production company that focuses mostly on corporate videos, so getting a chance to do something with heft appealed to him and his daughter. He does a lot of pro bono work for Boston-area organizations for the blind, including the Holbrook-based Association of Blind Citizens, and after hearing about the Boston Renegades, checked out a game with his daughter.

“I was moved to tears by how amazing these people were,” Clancy Lerner said. “That gave us a little kick in the butt to get our little company started and get moving on the film.”

“After about a half inning, we looked at each other and said we have to do this,” Clancy said, about forming the Brockton-based Best Dog Ever Films. “These athletes, men and women, are amazing. They’re so passionate when they play — they run fast, chasing the beeping ball and crashing into the pylon bases. T

hey’re just crazy about it.”

Clancy Lerner is hesitant to use the word inspirational when talking about filming the athletes, a project that took more than seven years to complete, because “it’s so much more than that. It comes down to amazing people playing a sport despite what we think is necessary to play it – the ability to see.”

One of the blind people in the film also has scoliosis and a heart condition, and has fought off cancer.

“He’s just heart-warming,” she said. “It just shows you don’t have to be the best player or have the most skills; you just work hard and people appreciate you.”

The filming also taught the pair a lesson in approaching people with disabilities, Clancy said.

“The overriding arc of the story is these people are just like anyone else, they like to have a beer, talk about sports,” he said. “Sometimes people see them with a guide dog or cane and are afraid to engage them, they don’t know what to say, that they’re in their own little world. But they’re not. They’ll talk to you about anything, like anyone else.”

It’s hard to gain entry into film festivals, the father-daughter team said; they’d tried several others before being accepted in Concord.

“Then we heard Concord liked it, and they gave us a good Saturday slot to show it,” Clancy Lerner said. “And then we won it, which was the cherry on top.”

The pair will continue working on films together, and have a few potential projects. They also want to premiere “The Renegades” in Boston next spring. Visit www.bestdogeverfilms.com/renegades/#  to check out the trailer.

Clancy, 62, still plays basketball and knows the value of team sports. His 30-year-old daughter played sports at Brockton High School and still plays soccer.

“When you think about it, challenged athletes like this may not get the chance to play sports,” Clancy said. “I still play and love it, and they’re the same way. The team camaraderie, the support they give one another, it’s something they may not get in everyday life. This sport is a great way to give that to them; it gives them a lift, and they really look forward to it.”

SOUTH RIDERS RACK UP DONATIONS: Riders from Southeastern Massachusetts raised $3.8 million of the $37 million generated from the 2012 Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, an annual fund-raiser for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund. Dana-Farber president Edward J. Benz Jr.  said the event raises “seed money that enables our scientists to conduct the earliest forms of research, often before it is eligible for government funds.”

The race was founded in 1980 when 36 cyclists rode across the state and raised $10,200 for the Jimmy Fund. This year’s event drew 5,234 riders who each rode up to 190 miles over one or two days.

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Sally Cousins of Scituate was named sales manager of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s office in Easton. She had been a sales associate with the real estate company’s office in Cohasset for seven years. . . . Jonathan Levitt of Sharon, managing member and cofounder of Outside GC LLC and Patent GC LLC, both based in Boston, was named ambassador of Entrepreneurs’ Organization in Boston. He is in charge of developing the group’s relationships with other entrepreneurial-focused organizations in greater Boston.

Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at Kandarian@globe.com.
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