Poker Doc Ultimate Beat Will Square Off Against Hollywood Blockbuster

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The poker documentary Ultimate Beat: Too Much To Lose –produced by Scott “elevengrover” Bell and Doublehead Pictures— is now slated for an early October release according to a recent video update on the progress of the film.

Two poker films to be released around the same time

If the project keeps this current timeline the release will coincide with the release of the Ben Affleck/Justin Timberlake Hollywood blockbuster Runner Runner, which covers essentially the same topic, but in a far more fantastical way — using a fictional company and characters but maintaining the super user storyline.

This synchronized release could be a blessing in disguise for Bell and Ultimate Beat if casual moviegoers decide to look into online poker cheating after seeing Runner Runner. Bell seemed very aware of the fortuitous timing when we spoke recently, saying that “getting a release near Runner Runner is kind of a blessing. Our project will be available for those who want to understand the real, crazy-interesting story of bumbling conmen who couldn’t resist screwing with the end of a rainbow.”

Budget constraints posed issues for production

The core issue with project all along has been fundraising and money. For comparison’s sake Bell explains in the video update that the typical documentary runs from about $200,000 to $1,000,000, but Ultimate Beat’s final budget was in the neighborhood of $40,000.

This lack of funds forced Bell and company to wear many hats they were unfamiliar with, from cinematography, to conducting interviews.  But a recent anonymous donation has allowed the project move forward:

“I’m not a professional filmmaker and we are working on a much smaller budget. So, a lot of technique common to film today like heavy depth of field effects, handheld work and location shooting is not present in our project. One example is studio staging our interviews so they appear fairly consistent without a DP and crew.”

“We recently received a decent anonymous donation allowing full time work over the summer, an additional shoot, soundtrack stuff and a little left for distribution. The next step is getting a professional voice to recut the narration. Currently, a small group of alpha testers are going over a work print and making corrections/changes so around month’s end, we can deliver the project.”

Still, money is not the only issue causing delays, as the story is still fluid and even years after still muddled, as Bell described different factions inside the old UB, each pushing their own agendas:

“… Travis Makar became the most public conduit for this info, but he is one of several people banding together to rebel against compatriots who finally held all the keys and made all the closing decisions. Determining what is legitimate and what is spin, what data can be believed and where the agenda leads has been treacherous and maddening at times.”

“The key bit of course is the leaked audio tapes that have been discussed since at least 2009. Finally getting access to the surreptitiously recorded pieces provided strong glue in building a cohesive story though clearly people on the recordings all are less than forthright even in a private meeting held before things went totally off the rails in 2008…”

You can see the Ultimate Beat trailer below:

- Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus for OPR is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.
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