Filmmaker Torey Champagne spent nine months with US Olympic gymnastics hopeful Aly Raisman and her family, filming the Needham native once or twice a week for a documentary soon to debut on Comcast SportsNet New England. He logged 120 hours of film, and through relentless editing, culling, and production, has completed 65 minutes of his 88-minute project.
He’s almost done. All he needs is one little thing: the ending.
That will come Monday, when the five-member team that will represent the United States in London is chosen following the Olympic trials, which begin Friday in San Jose.
Champagne will be there to film the denouement of his documentary, “Aly Raisman: Quest For Gold,’’ which will air in three parts from July 9-11.
Yes, it is unusual for a film to be roughly 75 percent complete without knowing how the final scenes will play out. But the suspense has become part of the fun for Champagne.
“It’s kind of the exciting thing about making a documentary like this, because everything leading up to the last 20 minutes of the film has already been filmed and laid out,’’ said Champagne, who won a New England Emmy this year for directing, producing, and editing the entertaining CSNNE series, “Villains: The Bad Guys of Boston Sports.”
“It was an ongoing process to start the postproduction aspect of things as we were making the film. I’d go film, I’d come back, and I’d start to put together a segment. The majority of it is complete and we’re just going to see what happens and come back and put the final touches on it.”
Will those final touches include the subject’s selection to the Olympic team? That’s the question hovering over the project, and the competition to make the team is expected to be particularly fierce. Fifteen gymnasts are competing, and only the top all-around scorer in San Jose gets an automatic selection. The other four are chosen by a committee Sunday.
Champagne, who has been working on the project with the 18-year-old Raisman and her family since last October, likes her chances.
“I’ve been in the Boston media for a while, and I’ve had the experience of being around the Patriots and the Celtics and that level of pro athlete,’’ said Champagne. “I’ve honestly never been more astonished or more amazed by an athlete than I have by spending the time with Aly. Her determination is unparalleled to anything I’ve ever seen.’’
That determination has helped her star in the sport rapidly ascend, beginning with her gold-medal-winning performance in the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo.
“When we started filming here, she had just become a world champion in Tokyo, and for the outside world you don’t often think of gymnastics unless it’s at the Olympic Games,’’ Champagne said. “So to see her at Madison Square Garden for the American Cup and there are 14,000 screaming fans there like a Beatles concert every time she did something was eye-opening.
“She had gotten some minor media exposure, but shortly after that, suddenly it was Vogue magazine and a ‘Got Milk?’ ad campaign and Us Weekly coming to the house with Justin Bieber’s photographer. It was overnight, like a light switch had gone on.”
The documentary captures those heady moments of glamour and glitz, as well scenes from her life away from the spotlight.
All that’s left now is to discover whether her Olympic dreams will come true.
“From a filmmaker’s standpoint, sure, we really want that happy ending,’’ Champagne said. “Having been around her for all of this time, we’re really confident that it will happen.’’
Later starts for NFL
Perhaps someone can find a few football-indifferent fans of “60 Minutes’’ or “The Simpsons” with a grievance, but otherwise it’s hard to believe there will be much disagreement with the NFL’s decision to move back kickoffs for the second game of its Sunday television doubleheaders by 10 minutes, from 4:15 p.m. to 4:25.
The change, announced by the league Thursday, may cause Sunday night programming to start later, but for football fans, the tradeoff is well worth it. The later start times mean it is far less likely that viewers will miss out on the final minutes of an exciting early game on Fox or CBS.
The league’s broadcast rules, which require networks to switch to the start of the late game in the home team’s city even if the early game is still in progress, occasionally led to viewers missing a compelling ending. The most notable example last year occurred Dec. 4 on Fox, when the Tim Tebow-led Broncos beat the Vikings on a last-second field goal. The game ended at 4:19 p.m., so fans of teams such as the Packers, Cowboys, and Giants, who were playing in the 4:15 p.m. window, missed the fantastic finish.
According to the league, something like that has happened 44 times since 2009. Had the 4:25 kickoff been in effect, it would have happened just 15 times. For that kind of common-sense progress, Homer Simpson can wait.
NBC announced Thursday the assignments of the 115 broadcasters who will be contributing to the network’s Summer Olympics coverage. There were few surprises among the high-profile spots. Bob Costas will work his 10th Olympics for NBC, his ninth as the prime-time host. Al Michaels and Dan Patrick will host live weekend and weekday daytime coverage, while Mary Carillo will anchor the late-night coverage. Michelle Beadle, who jumped from ESPN to NBC in June, will make her Olympic debut as the host of NBC Sports Network’s coverage. Some familiar faces from CSNNE, a regional network of NBC Sports Group, will also have a presence. Celtics play-by-play voice Mike Gorman will call handball, while Carolyn Manno will be a sports-desk reporter.
Coming up Roses
ESPN announced Thursday it has extended its agreement with the Rose Bowl for another dozen years, beginning in 2015 when the current deal ends. The game is guaranteed to air Jan. 1 at 2 p.m. and will continue to feature teams from the Big Ten and Pac-12. ESPN will maintain the rights to the game when the exact postseason bowl rotation is determined as part of the future playoff format.