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"For Three" opens July 14

Brent Hanson's new movie "For Three" documents the travails and travels of the 2010-2011 Perham boys basketball team and the school's first-ever run to the Minnesota 2A state basketball title.

What should be the biggest movie premiere in the history of Perham is scheduled for Thursday, July 14 at the Comet Theatre, thanks to the efforts of Brent Hanson, showcasing the incredible run of last season's state champion boys basketball team in his movie "For Three."

The beacon of hope in the tale of the school's first-ever run to the state title was the huge story that was Zach Gabbard and his battle to return to health, something Hanson knows plenty about.

"That's part of my investing so much time in this," Hanson said. "It's not my story but it kind of is. It's weird to be 19-years-old and questioning your mortality."

Like Gabbard, Hanson suffered cardiac arrests at a young age. In fact, it happened to him twice.

"I've been so immersed in this," he said. "Everybody said it's such a great story but for Zach it isn't. His goal was to go to state and that got taken away with him."

In situations of stress, it is nearly impossible to actually sympathize. One can have empathy, but to really understand what Gabbard has had to traverse, aside from family being there for the day-to-day stresses, Hanson, especially, has a keen sense of such travails due to his own experiences.

"Zach got to go around and have people tell him how lucky he is. I was him. I understand what people are saying: the odds are he shouldn't have made it but maybe there's a different word to use than lucky."

People from all over the country were fortunate enough to follow what was the high school sports story of the year in the state of Minnesota last winter.

Fortune will spread in mid-July when those memories and feelings awash the crowd lucky enough to cram into the Comet to view this film for the first time.

While Hanson has logged months of time creating the film, putting it all together has been a team effort.

Each of the players and coaches from the team participated in multiple hours of interviews to show the locker room mentality.

The film is approximately half interviews and half highlights.

Cory Hepola, a friend of Hanson's and an award winning Sports Anchor/Reporter at WROC-TV in Rochester, N.Y., has provided constructive criticism, a rarity and welcome aid in artistic pursuits. Hepola also provides narration in the film.

Over 18 bands donated music for the film, a dicey subject when it comes to licensing and music labels, which typically want a bite of a profit if available.

"That legalese has been unbelievable," said Hanson. "I didn't understand how difficult that would be. Bands would give me their music but their labels wouldn't."

WDAY-TV Fargo and KSTC-TV in Minneapolis-St.Paul provided video from playoff games in Moorhead and the Twin Cities.

Photos are dispersed throughout the film. Perham sports journalists Bob Williams and John George provided many of the shots from the state title run, along with former FOCUS photojournalist Paul Gregersen.

Gregersen donated his time and asked for no compensation at the state tournament, making the snowy drive from Moose Lake to Minneapolis to provide photo coverage of both days.

The Backcourt Club has aided Hanson in the realm of things he just did not have time to get to.

"The Backcourt Club has been great about promoting the movie," Hanson said. "I couldn't do all this myself."

Vanessa Anderson, Pat Nordick and Karmen Bruhn have spearheaded the Club's efforts.

The Perham boys basketball team had played basketball for over 80 seasons and for 80 seasons, not once had they made a trip to the state basketball tournament.

From 2005-2011, Perham has been the top ranked public school in the MSHSL Challenge Cup - a statewide, yearlong competition scored on success in section and state fine arts and athletic tournaments.

Yet the basketball team hadn't yet joined that success.

This year looked to be different, though. Returning most of the players from a 20-win season a year ago, the goals were high for the Perham basketball team.

After starting the season a perfect 12-0, the team destined for greatness suffered a major setback when they nearly lost the leading scorer on the team for good when junior Zach Gabbard suffered a cardiac arrest during a basketball game on January 20.

"FOR THREE", a new documentary set to be released on July 14, is the actual story, as told by the players and coaches, of the season too unbelievable to be true.

Except for the fact that it is.

"FOR THREE" provides a unique behind the scenes view of the exciting start of the season, the unbelievable conclusion, and every emotion in between.

"FOR THREE" was written and directed by Perham assistant coach Brent Hanson who, ironically enough, has lived through two cardiac arrests while playing and coaching basketball.


"FOR THREE" debuts at the Comet Theater in Perham, MN on Thursday, July 14 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. followed by an encore presentation on Sunday, July 17 at 1 p.m.

A possible Sunday 3:30 p.m. showing is still being discussed.

In addition, DVD's will be available to purchase online at and at the premier showings. Cost is $20.

100 percent of the proceeds raised from "FOR THREE" will be donated to the Zach Gabbard Fund and to Perham Boys Basketball.

More information about the film and the "For Three" trailer can be found at:

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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