MORGANTOWN - Parkersburg native Parween Sultany Mascari is working on a film project honoring the late Ann Dinardi, who was a mentor and "mom" to West Virginia University basketball players.
Mascari, a Morgantown attorney, recently met with filmmakers Sharon Lee and Teri Fettis D'Ovidio, both of Los Angeles, in West Virginia to garner financial support and a location for a movie on Dinardi's positive impact on WVU basketball players such as Rod "Hot Rod" Hundley and Jerry West.
Mascari, a 1993 graduate of Parkersburg High School, is executive producer on the film, which the production team hopes to shoot in West Virginia beginning in the fall.
Photo by Larry Hailey
From left, West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame member Willie Akers, Parkersburg native Parween Sultany Mascari and WVU basketball legend Rod “Hot Rod” Hundley in the Recovery Sports Grill in Charleston, where they recently discussed a film project honoring the late Ann Dinardi of Morgantown. Dinardi had a positive impact on Akers and Hundley at WVU.
Photo by Larry Hailey
From left, filmmaker Teri Fettis D’Ovidio, WVU basketball legend Rod “Hot Rod” Hundley and filmmaker Sharon Lee in the Recovery Sports Grill in Charleston, where a fundraiser for the Hundley statue was held.
Mascari, Lee and D'Ovidio met with West Virginia basketball legends Hundley and Willie Akers last week in Charleston to discuss the movie.
"Hot Rod was animated about Ann (Dinardi)," Lee said. "He was emotional and thrilled" about the film project, she said.
Hundley, a two-time, first team All-American at WVU in the 1950s who played in the NBA and was an NBA broadcaster, is a focal point of the movie.
Hundley, who grew up on the streets of Charleston, received guidance and support from Dinardi while attending WVU.
"Ann was a mother to Hot Rod in her home," Lee said. The film tells a beautiful story about a mother/son devotion and a relationship story, both are transforming, she added.
"Ann helped her boys to be the best they could be," said Lee. Dinardi provided a mother's role, making sure the WVU basketball players went to class and did their homework.
"She was instrumental in building strong young men and stressed the importance of being fine human beings," Lee said. "She was an amazing woman. Her story deserves to be told," said Lee, who has been working on the film project for five years.
Lee, a Morgantown native and WVU graduate, said the script for the movie has been written by Brad Gann, who wrote the screenplay for "Invincible," about bartender Vince Papale who became a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
A cast is still being assembled for the movie.
Lee described Dinardi, who died in 2003 at the age of 97, as a feisty, funny taskmaster who dedicated her life to helping others and WVU. She was a 1931 graduate of the WVU School of Pharmacy and owned the Morgantown pharmacy Moore & Parriott.
Dinardi lived on Beechurst Avenue next to the WVU Fieldhouse. WVU was able to build a strong basketball program in the 1950s in part because of Dinardi's efforts, Lee learned.
"She would talk to the mothers of the basketball players and helped the program get top recruits," Lee said.
One summer, 17 WVU student-athletes did their homework at Dinardi's house, Lee said.
The filmmakers said they have spent hundreds of hours talking on the telephone with Hundley, who lives in Phoenix, and a member of the film crew met with Hundley in Arizona.
They have talked to former WVU basketball players such as Rod Thorn about the movie. The ex-players are excited about the project and support the filmmakers' efforts, Lee said.
Jerry West told Lee wonderful stories about Dinardi, she said.
Mascari called the Dinardi movie an "amazing project" that she wants to see completed.