Milan’s state championship run that inspired ‘Hoosiers’ restored, film showing Sunday

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Game films from a small high school’s 1954 Indiana basketball championship run that inspired the movie “Hoosiers” have been restored and will have a public screening this weekend.

Film preservationist Eric Grayson worked to save the 16-millimeter films that were found in 2015 in the southeastern Indiana town of Milan (MY’-lun), The Herald Times reported. The films had gone unseen for decades since Milan High School’s legendary win.

They show the state championship victory and also the team’s semifinal win over Terre Haute Gerstmeyer.

“To me, it’s patently obvious why these films are so important. It’s sports legend,” Grayson said. “Everyone in Indiana knows this story.”

Grayson said the films were on the brink of deterioration.

“Perfection is not really an option. With really old film, you can make it look as good as you can make it, and that’s really about it,” Grayson said of the restoration process. “If I hadn’t done this, it wouldn’t have been done. So it needed to be done. I can look back and be pretty proud that I contributed something to our state’s history.”

Both will be screened for free on Sunday. But patrons must secure a ticket at the box office.

The Indiana University Cinema will screen the original game film, with the play-by-play broadcast from 1954, at 3 p.m.

The game films have been converted to Blu-ray, and are in the process of being put onto motion picture film. They will be stored in IU’s Ruth Lilly Auxiliary Library Facility, where Grayson said Milan’s victory can be preserved for up to 400 years.

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