STILL BALLIN’ Last summer’s local indie film sensation was Ballin’ at the Graveyard, a documentary about public-court basketball culture that put local audiences in touch with a fascinating part of Albany culture. It was as rich an experience for audiences and the wider community as it was for the ballers profiled in the film, as attested to by the film’s long, successful run at the Spectrum 8 Theatres. The film returns to the Spectrum (290 Delaware Ave., Albany) for one night and one show only, on Wednesday (May 29) at 6:30 PM. There will, of course, be a Q&A with filmmakers and cast members after the show.
I recently spoke with the filmmakers, Basil Anastassiou and Paul Kentoffio, about what’s happened in the 10 months since the film’s debut and local success. Notably, in April 2013, Ballin’ at the Graveyard was one of only a handful of American films shown at Filmfest DC, aka the Washington, D.C. International Film Festival.
Asked about the Filmfest DC experience, Anastassiou says, “We had a blast.” According to Anastassiou, the film connected with audiences—and this was revealed in the thoughtful Q&As that followed each of the two screenings, and included three of the main participants in the film.
Kentoffio says, “The Q&As were spirited and full of great dialogue.”
What’s next for Ballin’ at the Graveyard?
Anastassiou says, “We’re in discussions for screenings in Syracuse and Rochester, the Hudson Valley and Western Mass.”
Kentoffio adds, “We’re also talking about screenings in Buffalo and Columbus, Ohio.”
“The idea is,” Anastassiou says, “we’re pretty confident that the movie will find its place.”
This is a completely independent effort, building word of mouth and interest audience by audience. They’re looking for distribution through a variety of platforms, and have made contacts at a number of levels, including cable TV.
“It’s never a straight road or a short process,” Anastassiou says.
The key, he adds, is that it’s the film—and the post-screening discussions—that are opening these doors. There hasn’t been a screening, Anastassiou explains, that has been followed by calls or e-mails from people wanting to help get the word out on the film.
“It’s fun,” Anastassiou says. “We believe in the film.”
After the Spectrum 8 Theatres return engagement, the film will next be shown at the GE Theatre at Proctors on June 12.
For more info, visit spectrum8.com.
YOUNG FILMMAKERS After five years, the Youth FX teen filmmaking program is still going strong. It’s part of Grand Street Community Arts, and the continually expanding program will be showcased tonight (Thursday, May 23) at the Youth FX Film Festival at the Madison Theater (1036 Madison Ave., Albany). There will be eight short documentary and narrative films made by Albany teenagers. According to the press release, the filmmakers explored “race, violence, loss, community, culture, elders and music.” Program director Bhawin Suchak notes that, “This past year we really stretched the boundaries of digital media, not only making some incredible short films but exploring a wide range of creative projects.” There will be two screenings, at 7 and 9 PM, and there will be a Q&A after each show. Tickets are $8, and all proceeds will go to this summer’s program. For more info, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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