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.”
The St. Louis-based film is firmly set in the milieu of American big-city streetball and is colored by the concomitant racial themes so characteristic of the game – really of life, oftentimes – in the U.S. Protagonist no. 1 is John, who seeks to parlay his community-college game experience into a university scholarship; he’s “a real smart player” critically assessed as “a six-foot white guard with decent speed and little jumping ability.” Team stud Jacob (played by Jimmy McKinney, he of Deutsche Bank Skyliners) is criticized for his attitude and is troubled by his gangsta relatives.
And guess what? Though it plays like drama, it’s based on a true story. A true American story. The official trailer runs below – probably rated R for language, as they say in the ‘States.
It has (justifiably) become cliché in sportswriting to riff on that most fantastic of book-closing lines ever written by the human hand, i.e. that of Jim Bouton’s Ball Four. Paraphrasing just a minuscule tad – don’t worry, you’ll get the change – the line reads:
“You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a [ball] and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.”
Every decent story ever written about those who live a sport understands the meaning of this line. American Streetballers is one of those stories.