It’s always a winning season for this ‘Superfan’

Kris Brannon – aka Sonics Guy – is a familiar face around Tacoma, and now he’s featured in a movie showing at the Seattle International Film Festival.
Kris Brannon – aka Sonics Guy – is a familiar face around Tacoma, and now he’s featured in a movie showing at the Seattle International Film Festival. Staff photographer file, 2013

Kris Brannon isn’t a sports superstar, stadium developer or basketball coach.

But he is a fan. A superfan.

Brannon shows up at sporting events, farmers markets, festivals and anywhere else he can to wage his one-man campaign to bring an NBA team back to the Puget Sound.

Dressed in Sonics green and gold, Brannon began his crusade in 2009. He soon became the regional icon known as the Sonics Guy.

In April, Brannon was riding high in a convertible in the Daffodil Parade. A few weeks later, he was the crestfallen guy watching the Seattle City Council deliver what might have been a fatal blow to the Sodo District arena project aimed at reviving the Sonics.

“I was looking like I got punched in the gut,” Brannon said of the TV footage.

Now Brannon is the subject of a documentary premiering at this year’s Seattle International Film Festival. The festival opened Thursday. “Superfan” shows Saturday and Sunday.

“Superfan” is only 7 minutes long, but it tells Brannon’s story for the few people left in the region who haven’t encountered the tall Tacoman with an even taller afro, his arm held aloft clutching a sign.

It might be a quixotic quest filled with defeat, but Brannon keeps his head high.

“You’ve got to look at the long view,” Brannon said. “People ask me all the time, ‘Are we ever going to get a team back?” I say ‘yes’ because ‘ever’ is a long time.”

The creator of “Superfan” is Minnesota-based Leigh Burmesch. She made the film last fall while in a digital media graduate program at the University of Washington.

Burmesch, 27, became intrigued with Brannon while at UW.

“We met at a Husky football game and I was able to see how the crowd reacted to him,” Burmesch said. “He is very persistent and very knowledgeable about the SuperSonics.”

The film follows Brannon as he pursues his quest. It also delves into his pre-Sonics Guy history. The documentary includes interviews with those who know him and the Sonics story, including News Tribune sports columnist John McGrath.

Brannon, who began his crusade shortly after the Seattle SuperSonics left for Oklahoma in 2008, said he’s not letting the recent defeat alter his pavement-pounding plan.

“I took 24 hours to mourn the vote and work through that, and then I was at a Rainiers game a couple of days later with my sign and Sonics gear, advancing the message,” he said.

Brannon still has basketball fans approach him to tell him their SuperSonics stories.

“It buoys my spirits and makes me feel that I’m on the right path,” he said.

Being the Sonics Guy is not a full-time job. Brannon is also a stand-up comic — recently sharing the stage with comic and actor Craig Gass — and a nightclub manager.

He is working on a book and a one-man show about his Sonics Guy story.

“Superfan” will show with “Full Court: The Spencer Haywood Story.” That full-length documentary on Seattle SuperSonics player Spencer Haywood tells how he overcame poverty and racism to become one of the best forwards of all time in professional basketball.

Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541, @crsailor


With: “Full Court: The Spencer Haywood Story.”

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.

Where: SIFF Cinema Uptown Festival, 511 Queen Anne Avenue N., Seattle.

Tickets: $13.

Information: siff.net