Just like the rest of the sporting world, local high school girls basketball stars will have to wait a little longer to appear on the big screen.
Last August, Dallas County basketball players Jorja Hanselman of Van Meter and Julia Reis of Dallas Center-Grimes were cast as supporting roles for the independent film called “New Providence”. The film followed a fictional account of the final year of the storied six-on-six girls' basketball league in Iowa. Both Hanselman and Reis were members of the New Providence team which the story followed and included Gilbert sophomore Ava Hawthorne as one of the lead roles.
Filming for the movie concluded in February and the film was originally scheduled to take to the big screen right around the time of the Iowa girls state basketball tournament back in March. Then the COVID-19 pandemic came and altered the landscape of the sports world and although the film was going to be pushed back to beyond the state tournament, to begin with, everything has now been put on hiatus to a further extent.
“Originally we decided to push the movie back until March or early April to avoid the state tournament,” said New Providence producer Jack Smith. “Now, even if we were finished with post-production, we'd have nowhere to show it. We're all just on pause right now.”
Even with the pause, the memories of the film and the lessons it bestowed upon everybody in the film still reside somewhat like a positive distraction until things get back to normal.
“I knew about the six-on-six game but I learned just how important boxing out was back then,” said Reis. “We're so used to dribbling the way we do know that it took time to get used to the dribbling rules they had back then.”
Hanselman, one of the New Providence players, was one of many individuals eagerly awaiting the official release of the film which will now be put on hold a lot longer.
“I have been thinking about it a lot lately and I've been telling a lot of people about the movie,” began Hanselman. “It's just kind of a waiting game right now. I just know all the hard work and the time that we all put in. I hope it can all come back out once this has all settled down.”
It's an unfortunate setback but instead of viewing the pause as a negative, Smith and the individuals of Fearless Cinema have found a silver lining and a way to re-purpose their extra time.
“We're making the most of our down time right now and going back and re-editing some things,” said Smith. “This has given us more time to be a little more pickey about some things and examine other things more closely.”
It's still a tough pill to swallow with all things sports and school are shut down right now along with many other things on the docket for young athletes.
“It's frustrating because this is the time to get going with club basketball and a time for college coaches to see what I can do,” said Hanselman. “It's tough to not be able to see friends and play basketball and not being able to see the film right now is tough as well.”
While the wait is tough and has taken many minds off of the movie, Smith has no worry about the passion for the film ever waivering.
“So many people as so passionate about this film especially with all the hard work put in,” said Smith. “Once things get back to normal, I'm sure that same passion will flood back and basketball fans will come to see the film.”