December 9, 2014 11:34 pm
Chicago audiences will see a new digital restoration of Hoop Dreams this weekend at the Gene Siskel Film Center on Saturday December 13th at 7pm and Tuesday December 16th at 6:30pm.
Get tickets here: http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/hoopdreams
The 1994 documentary, made over seven years by filmmakers Steve James, Peter Gilbert and Frederick Marx, chronicles the lives of two inner-city teenagers who hope of one day playing in the NBA. Star Arthur Agee, now in his early 40s, will attend both screenings with James, Gilbert and Kartemquin's artistic director Gordon Quinn.
Ahead of the screenings, Arthur Agee spoke to DNAinfo's Mark Konkol, and with Fox News' Jon Kelley, about the impact of the film upon his life. Director Steve James spoke with Duane Watson of leading basketball magazine Slam - revealing the one scene he would put back in the film if he could turn back time - and Gordon Quin spoke with WBEZ's Justin Kaufman about the film's legacy in documentary filmmaking.
Following Chicago, Hoop Dreams next plays at Seattle's Northwest Film Forum December 19-21.
The recently completed restoration represents the collaborative effort of Sundance Institute, UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Academy Film Archive and Kartemquin Films. It premiered in an emotional screening at this years Sundance Film Festival, where director Steve James also premiered his new film, Life Itself, which is about one of Hoop Dreams’ greatest champions, Roger Ebert.
“This new restoration actually looks better than the film ever did,” said Steve James (also the director of The Interrupters). “Even if you have seen Hoop Dreams many times on VHS, DVD, TV etc, you could argue that this is really the first time you will ever have seen it as it was truly intended. I’m really looking forward to sharing it with the city of Chicago once more.”
Despite its length (171 minutes, edited “tape-to-tape” from over 250 hours of footage) and unlikely commercial prospects, Hoop Dreams received high critical and popular acclaim upon release in 1994, became an Academy Award nominee for Best Film Editing (though it controversially was not nominated for Best Documentary) and was added to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in 2005.
Hoop Dreams was shot primarily on analog Beta SP videotape, so the image was cropped and transferred for its commercial release. Working from multiple elements, including standard definition video masters and a 35mm film print, the project team created a new uncropped, high definition digital master that better represents the pictorial quality of the original videography. Digitally remastered at Modern VideoFilm with sound restoration by Audio Mechanics, this version allows future audiences to see the film as conceived by its filmmakers. Nora Gully managed the restoration project for Kartemquin with archivist Carolyn Faber, working extensively with Ross Lipman, who oversaw the restoration for UCLA. The archivists are also expected to attend the screenings.