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'Gleason' elicits powerful reaction at Sundance premiere

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New documentary chronicles Steve Gleason's battle with ALS

Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Cougar legend Steve Gleason debuted his documentary 'Gleason' at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, this Saturday. Several former Saints teammates attended the premiere including Drew Brees, Scott Fujita and Eric Johnson. Sports Illustrated writer Peter King and Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready were also on hand to support Steve, as well as former Cougar teammates Grady Emmerson and Matt Shaw.

The film was born out of home movies that Steve and his wife Michel were making for their young son Rivers. The film is said to show all of the difficulties that the Gleason family has gone through as the result of his ALS diagnosis and the way that they have turned it into a positive with all the attention that has been focused on the disease and the search for the cure.

Acclaimed documentarians Clay Tweel and Seth Gordon took the footage and shaped it into a film. Gordon is responsible for one of my favorite documentaries of all time, the fantastic King of Kong. The New York Times included 'Gleason' on one of their "10 Sundance Movies With Heat", so expect it to be snapped up by a distributer shortly.

The screening was, by all accounts, a powerful experience. Here is Sports Illustrated's Peter King:

And Pearl Jam's Mike McCready:

Steve was a high school teammate of mine and I was able to speak to a high school classmate of ours, Tony Hazel, who attended the festival and described the film to CougCenter:

An amazing film that anyone can relate to. It's about living life to the fullest in the face of adversity. It's also a story about fathers and sons in the way that it shows Steve and his father's relationship and now Steve and his son Rivers.

He also said that it was one of the most-talked about films at the festival

They had 5 showings while I was there and there was standing ovations after every single one of them.

By the way Steve was wearing a Coug shirt at the screening.

Expect to see 'Gleason' in theaters later this year. Sounds like a movie that can't be missed.

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