Well, okay, sort of. Insert a few more game clips and you’ve probably got CSKA Moscow’s approximation of what Phil Jackson’s game films used to look like. Via CSKA Basketball tweet, see the trailer for the cinematic epic of 2011 below the break.
Call it “Hoop Dreams 2”: Director Ayité Ajavon has announced production of the documentary “Un rêve à construire” (perhaps best translated as “Building a Dream”), featuring as main subject the 2010 FIBA U20 European Championship MVP Andrew Albicy’s pursuit of someday playing in the NBA.
The now 21-year-old is currently playing for Paris-Levallois in the LNB and was recently seen playing for Team France in the 2011 EuroBasket tournament, on which he was Les Bleus’ youngest player.
The film will reportedly be debuting on Bemavo TV, a website devoted to talents represented by the Bemavo Corporation agency. Official trailer runs below.
So the envelopes have been opened and the celebratory parties in Tinseltown have yet to truly begin as Hollywood’s version of the NBA All-Star Weekend draws to a close. BallinEurope spent most of the weekend flipping between the ACB, NBA, “Black Swan” and “The Kids are All Right,” and is thus in perfect mindset to present the 2011 Oscar (Robertson) awards for cinematic basketball excellence.
Wait, did BiE say “cinematic”? That particular adjective may be slightly inaccurate for the films of 2010, especially considering the key noun “excellence” is also involved: In terms of basketball movies, the good news/bad news summation for last year’s roundball cinema subgenre informs that, while the volume of full-length features, documentaries and short videos was up in 2010, a single force dominated in terms of quality. And that force was ESPN. And last year’s best basketball films were, simply put, all on TV.
First, the field in the race for the “Best Dramatic Full-Length Feature” Oscar (Robertson).
Actor Dennis Hopper died in his California home yesterday at the age of 74. Though he’ll always be remembered among cinema freaks for well-praised American films like Easy Rider (awesome) and Blue Velvet (ugh), basketball fans will always recall first his turn in Hoosiers.
The so-cheesy-it’s-good movie about a small-town Indiana high school basketball team making the state championship through wholesome values and team spirit represented a bit of a career turnover for Hopper, who starred in Hoosiers alongside Blue Velvet, River’s Edge and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (oh yes, he did) in his bumper year of 1986; Hoosiers won him an Oscar nomination at the Academy Awards in ’87.
R.I.P. Dennis Hopper, and also Wilbur “Shooter” Flatch. See below the break for the awesomely 80s official trailer and a clip from the American Film Institute interview with Hopper about Hoosiers.
The independent production team behind Sundance Film Festival “darling” American Streetballers (née Streetballers) has had a good May. On the 1st of the month, the rechristened movie was released by Warner Brothers Digital in North America, thereby exposing this Sundance film to over 50 million households.
Better yet for European purposes, American Streetballers is also available on iTunes and Amazon Video On Demand. Unfortunately, no subtitles are available for the film in either online or television formats. Better news here is that an August 26th release date is set for the North American DVD release of American Streetballers, and this edition will be released with Spanish subtitles. Presumably, the Spanish text will be carried over into the film’s iTunes and Amazon versions.
The limited edition DVD will continue to be available on the official site; this one comes especially BiE-recommended to would-be small-budget movie producers for the making-of documentary entitled “The Making of a 100% Truly Indie Film.”
One of the few full-length basketball movies of 2009, American Streetballers is the first feature film from director/producer/writer/lead actor Matthew Scott Krentz. As IMDB PR would have it, “Streetballers is for basketball what Field of Dreams was for baseball,” i.e. “Defining street basketball as America’s new favorite pastime” or, as an updated Terence Mann might say, “basketball has marked the time.”
Slightly belated congratulations from BallinEurope to Israeli filmmaker Eran Riklis, recipient of funding from European Union film subsidy organization Eurimages for his biographical film based on the life of much decorated Maccabi Tel Aviv player/coach Ralph Klein.
Eurimages representatives announced Riklis’ “Playoff” as one of 14 European co-productions to receive backing for production, distribution and/or other budget concerns. “Playoff” was awarded €400,000 to assist in the business of cinema.
It’s Academy Awards time on the other side of The Pond tonight, Hollywood’s celebration of itself (approximately 96% of a given broadcast) and movie magic in general (the remaining 4% minus obligatory sponsor plugs). So, on Tinseltown’s holiday, BallinEurope takes stock of the major international and, um, not so-international basketball-related cinematic releases of 2009.
We may as well just call these the nominations for the 2009 Ball in Europe annual Best Basketball Movie; indeed, these eight films represent a smaller bunch than the entire “Best Motion Picture” nominations pool.
Quite the disappointing year it was for the Hollywood basketball flick, too. Not only was there a distinct absence of slick crowd-pleasers like “Glory Road” or marketable hits like “Semi-Pro,” but the sole movie produced by Hollywood in 2009 is the groan-inducing “17 Again.”
“Best of the (Basketball) Net” is one day late this week, but that extra 24 hours or so will surely make all the difference in terms of quality. For some most interesting recently-posted basketball-related stuff from the interweb, read on to check out excerpts from a classic of basketball literature, see highlights from a big ACB upset, discover Dirk Nowitzki’s secret weapon, and to witness the first-ever truly 21st-century dunks. Enjoy!
• Anybody who remembers the seminal book Heaven is a Playground will definitely want to check out this interview with Rick Telander conducted by the amazingly-named Bethlehem Shoals. For those of you not-in-the-know, be sure to check out the extended excerpts from the book which ran at Slam online in October 2008 and precipitated the book’s recent new edition out of University of Nebraska Press; and you can click here for the book’s official site.
Incidentally, the book was also morphed into a, um, not-so-great film starring D.B. Sweeney in the Telander role and featuring ballers Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon (no, really) and former NBAer/Hank Gathers teammate Bo Kimble.
Thanks go out this morning to the folks at ESPN Communications and congratulations go out to Vlade Divac and filmmaker Michael Tolajian, whose documentary film “Jednom braća” (“Once Brothers”) has been confirmed as part of ESPN’s high-profile “30 for 30” documentary film series. The addition of Tolajian’s film to the series had been reported by Serbia media earlier this week.
The “30 for 30” series features medium-length films on a sports subject; among the notable names contributing directorial skills to the series are Barry Levinson, Steve Nash, Ice Cube and Morgan Freeman.
Amidst the NBA All-Star weekend festivities starting up tonight in Dallas, the independently-produced film Streetballers continues its distribution through America with a VIP celebrity/NBA charity screening and fundraiser. Set to host festivities is the Los Angeles Lakers’ Josh Powell, certainly the movie’s biggest fan (that’s his “best basketball film ever made” remark on promo material); P. Diddy will be hosting the post-screening bash.
Streetballers premiered in 2009 and stars Jimmy McKinney, the former University of Missouri/current Deutsche Bank Skyliners guard.
The film will be going on to local premieres in Miami, Washington D.C., and New York City – so how about bringing it to The Continent, Mr. Krentz? – but is available now in a special DVD edition (including lotsa extras) along with the soundtrack via NeoFlix. Click here for the official Streetballers movie website.
Review and official trailer follow.
It’s absurd if you think about it. Basketball itself, i mean. Seriously, what are we spending so much time doing, watching, obsessing over? An amusement involving humans displaying very specialized skills with the ultimate goal of inducing a ball to complete passage through a metal ring. That’s it.
Yet, to those who play the game, to those seek to make the game a life’s calling, to those who live and die with the games, it transcends. Strong individual personalities aside, team play in basketball requires a dissolution of the ego, a submission of self to greater altruistic good, to work best. Basketball can make one a better person, can bridge gaps in communication across fear and history, can bring pride to a nation.
Why? Call it the power of love of the game. And love, as we know, is its own reward.
Streetballers is a product of love of the game, and the first feature film from independent film quadruple threat director/producer/writer/lead actor Matthew Scott Krentz. It’s a deft exploration of true-to-life characters in a visual essay on how basketball links us all. (It’s no coincidence that the PR blurb on the film’s IMDB.com page leads with “Streetballers is for basketball what Field of Dreams was for baseball,” i.e. “Defining street basketball as America’s new favorite pastime” or, as an updated Terence Mann might say, “basketball has marked the time.”)