Ball Don't Lie
Photos and Video
Brin Hill returns to the Tribeca Film Festival (his short Morning Breath screened at the first Festival in 2002) with his first feature film, an urban coming-of-age tale about a young streetballer who struggles with his past as he faces an uncertain future. Lead by bright newcomers Kim Hidalgo and real-life basketball player Grayson Boucher, the film sports an impressive all-star ensemble cast, including Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Rosanna Arquette, Emilie de Ravin, Harold Perrineau, and Nick Cannon. The film follows Sticky (Boucher), a skinny high school junior who has enormous basketball talent but also the burden of emotional scarring from an early tragedy, a callous foster care system, and obsessive-compulsive disorder that vanishes only when he's on the court. The story plays out over course of one day, as Sticky plays ball at Lincoln Rec, the legendary Venice Beach court where he is the only white guy. It's a volatile place filled with shattered dreams and where fisticuffs are the norm. That night, Sticky plans to meet up with his girlfriend, Anh-thu (Hidalgo), for her birthday. With little money in his pocket, he stresses out over buying her a present that will impress and makes a choice that could have a lasting impact on the rest of their lives. Based on the popular novel of the same name by Matt de la Peña (who cowrote the screenplay with Hill), Ball Don't Lie is a unique, authentic basketball film. Hill brilliantly weaves the narrative through a series of flashbacks that reveal the many layers of Sticky's troubled childhood. In the end, it's is his love of basketball, his amazing hoops skills, and his unlikely mentors that help him overcome his lifelong sense of isolation. With the ball in his hands, Sticky transcends his limitations.
Director's Statement Collapse
What event most shaped the identity that makes you the person you are today? Who guided your journey? Who blocked your path when your craft was merely a dream? These are the questions I find my characters consistently staring down in my work. These questions are really about the vitality of memory, of one's past. They are about broken folks realizing change, leaping insurmountable hurdles set before them, and holding fast to a dream.
Six years ago, I was privileged to show my film, Morning Breath: A Brooklyn Love Story, at the 2002 Tribeca Film Festival. One week later, a scrawny, hardened, foster kid named Sticky stepped into my world on the worn pages of a manuscript called Ball Don't Lie. He carried with him a bag full of problems and a familiar dream. He also had heart. I knew Sticky was special even if he didn't know it yet. I recognized an opportunity for a neglected kid saddled with obsessive-compulsive disorder and countless rejections to not just survive this world, but to thrive as a champion for the other 530,000 US kids just like him—those mired in a troubled foster care system. Sticky spoke to me because he had two skills I can relate to: He's a survivor and he's gifted with a basketball.
Real, raw, and authentic, the Venice streets I roamed as a youth stared me down from the pages. These are the basketball courts I grew up on. These are the courts and streets I still know. These are Sticky's canvasses. Always soulful, Venice is unbridled energy and uncompromising attitude. To me, this picture is an honest portrayal of Venice. It is a genuine examination of flawed people looking to hold on in a changing world. It strives for an intimacy derived from authenticity. Our wonderful ensemble cast, which includes some first-time actors, has molded this intimacy, this realism, to help give voice to the normally voiceless.
Ball Don’t Lie is not a milquetoast basketball movie; instead, we'd like to think it's an ode to what ball and a neighborhood does for our humanity, our soul, and our sanity. It's about pulling yourself back up and walking like a warrior when no one believes you can.
Film Information Collapse
Cast & Credits Collapse
Principal Cast Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Nick Cannon, Rosanna Arquette, Emilie de Ravin, Harold Perrineau, Grayson "The Professor" Boucher
Screenwriter Brin Hill, Matt de la Peña
Producer Michael Roiff, Jeffrey Smith
Based on the Book By Matt de la Peña
Director of Photography Matthew Jensen
Editor Steve Pilgrim
Music Supervisor Otaku
About the Director(s)Collapse
Brin Hill is a short film veteran. His film Morning Breath: A Brooklyn Love Story screened at the inaugural Tribeca Film Festival and captured a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Brin wrote and directed The Ecology of Love, a short film commissioned by Details and Visa that marked the acting debut of music icon Pharrell. Brin has helmed awardwinning projects for HBO, Sean P. Diddy Combs, Dimension, ESPN, Warner Brothers, and MTV among others. In 2008, Brin is slated to direct his script White Hot with Ludacris starring and Michael Roiff producing. Brin counts Spike Lee among his mentors and is a sharp-shooting two guard on the hoops court.