Steve James’ directorial debut was the stunning portrait of two young African-Americans, Arthur Agee and William Gates, who played basketball and hoped to obtain an athletic scholarship that would allow them to go to university,  and eventually, make it to the NBA. Beyond sports, this documentary addresses themes such as hope and the American dream in a thrilling, affecting and insightful manner. With a run-time of almost three hours that nonetheless pass in the blink of an eye, this documentary manages to fascinate its audience who cannot help but relate to the protagonists and their stories, transcending all the film frames. The critically-acclaimed documentary won a Special Distinction Award at the Independent Spirit Awards in 1995. It was also nominated for an Oscar and chosen as Best Picture/ Documentary of the year by prestigious associations of critics in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, as well as the National Board of Review. An incredible piece of work that made the famous film critic Roger Ebert (who also stars in one of James’ documentaries, Life, Itself, that will be screened during our retrospective of the well-known filmmaker) admit: “This is one of the best films about American life I have ever seen.”

1994: Oscar nominated for best editing
1994: Sundance Film Festival: Audience Award
1994: National Board of Review: Best documentary

Year: 1994 Runtime: 170 min Country: USA Direction: Steve James Screenplay: Steve James, Frederick Marx Cinematography: Peter Gilbert OST: Ben Sidran Genre: Documentary Language: VOSC