New Competitive Pinball Documentary & Raffle

You may have heard that we are helping to get a full-length documentary made about competitive pinball. Check this link for a short promo from the filmmaker:

The idea was to have the doc culminate at IFPA17, and feature the stories of all the players, their competitive challenges, and boost recognition for our sport.

Since IFPA17 has been pushed out to May/June 2021, we’ve got some extra time to raise money and get the filmmakers an even better budget. Some footage has already been completed from tournaments here at The Pinball Asylum in Florida. They also plan to film competition at TPF this year.

Award-winning filmmaker Joe Granato ( made his first film about the home-brew Nintendo world-- The New 8-Bit Heros ( Joe has got Adam F. Goldberg ( on-board as Executive Producer, creator of The Goldbergs (

Selling the finished documentary to Netflix is the ultimate goal of the filmmakers, but to do so they have to be able to make a great film. Making a great film takes money, and thus was born the idea of doing raffles and giving away pinball machines.

Half of the money raised with the raffles will go directly to the filmmakers to pay for production costs. The other half will go to buying a pinball machine for the winner of each raffle.

***All contributors that participate in our raffles will get a “Thank You” in the film credits.

Our hope is that this film might widen the audience for competitive pinball.

You can help by spreading the word, and if you are able, buying a few raffle tickets.


What happens if a non-US person wins, specifically UK?
Will Stern ship to a distributor FOC?

I wish you the best of luck. I don’t know how to raise this question delicately, but given that you are not a 501©, isn’t this illegal?

Even if you are a registered charity, there are a lot of limits on how you can and can’t run raffles which this violates. For instance, you can’t raffle off a prize you don’t already have in hand. Also, if you’re accepting donations from other states and/or countries, you usually have to abide by their rules as well. Here are the rules for Florida specifically:


This is being done through The Pinball Asylum which is a 501©(3). The raffle is run through which has already verified the legality of it.


Thanks for the response. From our research, Florida law does support raffles by registered 501-c3’s, similar to those done by Project Pinball for the last few years. The prize is likewise secured by funds we have in our group’s bank account designated for such, and by prior arrangement with a Stern distributor to purchase the prize chosen by the winner.

That’s a good question for which I do not have an answer. I know that machines purchased from a US distributor cannot be shipped outside the US. I will have to research and get back with you.

It looks like we can only ship within the US. If you are outside the US you can still participate, but if you win we can only ship to a location in the US.

Make sure you’re reading and abiding by this:

I’d also suggest you consult with a lawyer. Raffle laws are incredibly thorny and you can end up
In serious legal trouble.


Thanks, I have read that, and we are within compliance with all of those rules.

Aside from the raffle, do any of you have strong opinions about what specific things the film should try and highlight in regards to competitive pinball? While I am not the filmmaker, I am trying to guide Joe (the director) towards certain angles, and steer him away from others (see “Special When Lit”). The film is intended to be an introduction to our sport, and hopefully expose new people to pinball competition, but it should also appeal to, and be of interest to diehard pinball competitors.

I would reach out to someone like Josh Sharpe for a shortlist of people and events or competitive matches that are significant to past and present competitive pinball. Then go down the rabbit hole.

Also, competitive pinball outside the USA is big, and has been for quite some time. be sure not to short the international community of competitive players.


Of course, would suggest you have a segment on leagues, the gateway drug of competitive pinball :slight_smile:


One thing to delve into for sure would be the different formats of pinball competition. Just focus on the main 2 or 3. No need to go into Pin Baseball, Pin Football, Critical Hit. Just highlight the fact that some formats are more socially engaging and some are more about individual play.

@cayle-- Yes, great point about Josh. I actually connected Joe and Josh on a conference call before this whole Covid thing hit, and Josh was very helpful and supportive.

Joe also had an interest in getting footage outside the US. One of his ideas was to try and “follow” a few players (in the US and elsewhere) who will be playing in IFPA17. Film them in their home territory, playing in tournaments, leagues, at home, local arcades, etc. by using contacts here and in Europe who could be contracted out to avoid having to travel. Obviously, a lot of this depends on budget, timing, etc., but the plan is still to film some segments leading up to IFPA17 in May/June 2021.

@joe: Yes, definitely! Joe already had planned to film some of our local Asylum Inmates League here in Fort Myers, and maybe grab footage of other leagues as time and money allowed.

@LOTR_breath: This is a great idea I hadn’t thought of specifically. I am going to add this to my list of suggestions.

Nearer to the time, I can put you in touch with a person in the UK has filmed a pinball doc already. I’m sure he would be up to filming a segment, interviewing the 2 coming from the UK. Both have interesting back stories which would be worth following.

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@WWJ-- Thanks! That would be great help. I’ll pass that message along to Joe the filmmaker.

How can you justify changing the draw date?

Especially without informing those that have already bought tickets.

I bought my tickets based on the date of the draw, and the number of tickets already bought.

Is this going to turn in to the raffle equivalent of a Paperflock book?