‘One Day in April’ documentary feature tells the untold story of the Little 500 races

Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Emily Davis:

Experience the untold, behind-the-scenes story of what it really means to be a part of “the world’s greatest college weekend.”


The film follows the Cutters as they train during the off-season for the Little 500 race. Photos courtesy of Tom Miller and Ryan Black.

The documentary feature, “One Day in April,” chronicles four teams of cyclists as they spend months training for the 2013 and 2014 Little 500 races.

The Bloomington premiere is at 8 p.m. April 24 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Doors open at 7:30. The film is 90 minutes long and the screening will be followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers. All proceeds from the premiere will go toward a scholarship for an IU student interested in making a film in or around Bloomington.

More than a race

The film follows Cutters, Delta Tau Delta, Teter and Delta Gamma both on and off the track. Told from the perspective of the riders, the story takes you through the months, and in some cases years, students spend preparing themselves both mentally and physically for their one shot of glory.

Directed by Indiana University alumnus Thomas Miller, “One Day in April” exemplifies what it means to be a Hoosier.

“I loved the idea of doing a project that really tried to capture the idea of community and the aesthetics of Midwestern life,” Miller said.

“That was a really big focus for me, to tap into the community and build trust with folks to get that side of the story that doesn’t get told a lot.”

Lisa Hutcheson, a rider for Teter is one of the main subjects of the film.

Lisa Hutcheson, a rider for Teter, is featured in the film.

“It’s really easy to reduce Little 500 to two things,” Miller said. “This really giant bike race and all of this partying. But you lose a lot of what makes these riders so fascinating. So that was really important to us.”

“One Day in April” achieves what many sports films have failed to do by going beyond the outcome of the race. Instead, it stresses the stories of the characters themselves and shows what it’s like to put everything you have on the line.

The film’s creative team also included several other recent IU alumni: assistant director Ryan Black; executive producer Peter Stevenson, who assisted in writing and filming; and producer Kirsten Powell, a former Delta Gamma rider who brought her race experience to the project.

Coming together

Family is another important theme.

“Why a lot of us stick with sports is because we build these families out of it,” Miller said. “Sometimes they are built around star players and big personality coaches, but a lot of the time it’s just this us-against-the-world mentality, which is a special thing that you don’t get other places.”

In the film, team members and brothers, Kevin and Brian Depasse ride for the Cutters and give the emotional story of what it is like to be there and support one another throughout the intense competition.

The film takes you through the story of training for and competing in the Little 500 races.

The film takes you through the story of training for and competing in the Little 500 races.

Family is also demonstrated in the Delta Tau Delta team through their coach, Courtney Bishop. His intense coaching tactics create tension between him and the riders throughout the film, showing his extreme passion and commitment to winning. However, at the end of the film Bishop is ready to go to war for his riders, proving how much they really mean to him.

This film should resonate with all audiences; Hoosiers, sports fans and anyone who has ever felt like they were a part of something bigger than themselves.

“We are capturing a very special moment in time,” Miller said. “For anybody who is interested in remembering what is was like to be young and to think anything was possible and to not be so jaded and cynical about why we do things, I think the film really captures a good example of what happens when everyone buys into something and commits to it for no purpose other than to do it because it’s there to be done.”

About the director

Originally from Fort Wayne, Ind., Tom Miller came to IU in 2008 as a Cox Research Scholar.

Director Tom Miller

Director Tom Miller

He got his first camera during his freshman year and threw himself into photography, becoming the photo editor of the Indiana Daily Student his sophomore year.

“The film is very much an extension of the amount of roots I put down here when I was in school,” Miller said.

His first paid position was working for the John Hamilton mayoral campaign.

After he graduated, Miller spent six months as a videographer for the Obama 2012 campaign. He was later a cinematographer on the 2013 Inauguration video team.

During his senior year in 2012, alongside creative partner Ryan Black, his short film “All We’ve Built” was shown at the Cannes Film Festival. The film is about a young man who returns to his town after a nuclear disaster.

Miller’s advice to students is to take the most of every opportunity you can, and to “do everything you can with what you’ve got.”

Ticket information

One Day in April” screens at 8 p.m. April 24 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are available online and the BCT Box office.

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