Happy birthday to Hoop Dreams

October 14, 1994 saw the theatrical release of Kartemquin's Hoop Dreams. An unexpectedly massive critical and commercial success, the film is often hailed as one of the greatest documentaries of all time.

Exactly twenty years later, we're celebrating the film's anniversary by putting online a new clip from the new digital restoration of the film: the (in)famous* scene of Arthur Agee's 18th birthday.

To mark the anniversary, and an upcoming sold-out special screening in England at the BFI London Film Festival this Friday, October 17th, we gave Dazed and Confused another exclusive clip from the new restoration, plus never-before-seen archival photographs, and a new interview with director Steve James - in which he reveals that "when Arthur was at Arkansas State, Bill Clinton would make a pilgrimage to meet and hang out with him."

The new digital restoration will be screening in select dates across the United States throughout the rest of the year. Upcoming announced screenings include festival appearances at Hot Springs, Twin Cities Film Festival, Indiana University, and Indie Memphis Film Festival. Hoop Dreams filmmakers Steve James, Peter Gilbert, Frederick Marx and Gordon Quinn will be making special appearances at many of these events, along with star Arthur Agee.

Very soon we will also be announcing more special screenings of the digitally restored Hoop Dreams in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and more cities - watch this space!

Until then, enjoy some of the best reactions we've seen on Twitter to today's 20th anniversary of Hoop Dreams. Around lunchtime, mentions of the film were so rapid that "Hoop Dreams" was a top 10 trending topic:

* The scene is notorious because we were originally forced to pay $5,000 to license the song "Happy Birthday" from the copyright holder. As Gordon Quinn explains here, injustices like that led us to become activists and advocates on behalf of documentary fair use. And that "Happy birthday" copyright might be in the public domain after all.

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