You read about it in the Harry Potter series. You saw Daniel Radcliffe play it on the big screen. And, now, thanks to a new documentary, you can watch Quidditch really come to life — well, minus the whole flying part.
If you've been anywhere near a college campus in the last decade, you might have noticed some kids running around with brooms between their legs. After getting its start at Middlebury College back in 2005, Quidditch has become one of the fastest-growing collegiate club sports. And, if you think college kids treat it like a just-for-fun pick-up game of basketball, think again. They take it seriously — very seriously.
Quidditch mania is the subject of Mudbloods, a new documentary directed by former UCLA film student Farzad Sangarir. The film — which was funded on Kickstarter — follows the UCLA Quidditch team as they head to the Fifth Annual Quidditch World Cup in New York City. At the center of the film is the team's captain and founder, Tom Marks, who spoke with us about the misconception that everyone on the team is a diehard Potterhead. "When I started the team, I had never even read the books," he says. "There were definitely a lot of people who joined because of Harry Potter, but that was never the reason people stuck around."
And, don't even think about comparing Quidditch to LARPing. "No one is thinking they're flying or imagining themselves in a fantasy world," his former teammate Ali Cottong explains. "You're playing a contact sport where people do get hurt — broken bones, concussions, scrapes, and bruises. In my first year, I fractured a rib."
Despite the intensity of the sport, some still question its legitimacy. "There will always be people who don't understand," Marks says. "But, you just need to ignore those people and focus on the ones who get it."