By Nikki Garrett Metzger
(Apple Valley) -–It’s not often that you have a chance to go to the theater and see a local teacher on the big screen. Last night movie goers had that opportunity at the Ultra Star Theaters. Tim Vandenberg of Carmen Elementary, which we can now say is one of the stars of the new documentary “Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story” was on hand along with Kevin Tostado who produced and directed the film, and Craig Bentley who also produced the film, to introduce it to the audience and to answer audience questions after each screening.
This documentary focuses on the Monopoly national and world championships that are held around the world every four years. The filmmakers traveled to Tokyo, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and several other countries to film those championships. They also traveled all over the United States to tournaments, collectors homes, even to some sites that are important to the history of the game.
Tostado said, “We interviewed 24 of the 28 competitors before the U.S. Championship in 2009 so we could have their stories, in case someone made it to the finals that we did not know. In fact that did happen with two of the final four players.”
Vandenberg, one of those four finalists, appears quite a bit in the film. The filmmakers shot several scenes in his classroom. Vandenberg thanked several of the students that went with him to his first tournament in Redlands, “I took six of my students to the tournament. There was a former world champion there, and a former U.S. champion. I wondered what I had gotten myself into because we had only been practicing for three months. But after the first round one of the students walked up to me and said she had just defeated the first ever world Monopoly champion. I thought we were definitely on to something!”
One of the other players in the film gave Vandenberg the moniker the “Dark Prince of Monopoly”. Tim was asked if that player’s tactics worked against him at the U.S. Championship game.
“At the time of the championship I was not aware that this individual had spoken to the other players and told them not to let me win. Looking back at it now, I can see that it did affect the overall outcome.” He said that looking back at the film he could now understand why the players seemed to not hear him when he was talking about making trades. Ultimately Vandenberg said it was the roll of the dice that landed him in second place in the championship.