Blog Directory CineVerse: "Hoop Dreams" scores big

"Hoop Dreams" scores big

Monday, June 7, 2010

by Erik J. Martin

Hard to believe it's nearly been 16 years since the release of one of the most critically lauded documentaries of them all, "Hoop Dreams."

Culled from more than 250 hours of footage, the three-hour documentary spans five years in the separate lives of two inner-city teensagers, William Gates and Arthur Agee, who share the dream of playing in the NBA.

Structured more as a feature film than a documentary, “Hoop Dreams” presents raw footage and interviews, without narration or commentary, to chronicle the athletic and personal lives of Gates and Agee from their last days of grammar school to their first days in college.

In production since 1986, “Hoop Dreams” was made for approximately $350,000--something of a miracle for a movie that reaped so much praise.

I interviewed the film’s co-producer/director Steven James back in 1993 about the then-forthcoming feature. He told me that he and co-producer Fred Marx and cameraman Peter Gilbert “tried to document real life, to capture an intimate portrait of what went on in William and Arthur’s lives over the course of five years. It may not be very ‘Hollywood-ish,’ but it’s as least as dramatic.”

And that’s an understatement.

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