Numerous basketball players throughout the history of Flint, MI
CONCEIVED AND DIRECTED BY
NR (Graphic Language)
90 Mins. Plus Extras
Since I was a boy, I've been an Indiana Pacer fan.
I grew up obsessed with all the American Basketball Association Pacers...George McGinnis, Darnell Hillman, Billy Keller. My heart still starts racing every single time I think about those incredible days.
My love for the Indiana Pacers hasn't waned, even through their recent troubles with Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson and others over the past couple of years.
As I sat watching Marcus Davenport's labor of love, "Flint Star," a two-hour documentary on the basketball-crazed city of Flint, Michigan I found myself not only falling in love with basketball all over again but also having a deeper appreciation and understanding for the unique obstacles faced by the talented young men who struggle to rise up out of inner-city ghettos across the nation in whatever ways they can.
"Flint Star: The Motion Picture," a documentary years in the making, isn't necessarily a brilliant documentary if you only look at it through the critical eyes of production values.
Yet, what "Flint Star: The Motion Picture" lacks in production values it makes up for with pure and simple heart, authenticity and spirit. Much like "Hoosiers" was a celebration of the heart of Indiana basketball, "Flint Star" is a true celebration of the passion with which people in Flint and surrounding communities embrace their basketball. Davenport beautifully weaves into his film interviews with players from the NBA, WNBA, high school, college and even some athletes from other sports, as well.
While Davenport's film is clearly celebrating the Flint scene, he wisely paints his picture through a realistic lens recognizing the hardships of Flint, recognized as one of the most dangerous cities in America in which to live, and also the realization that only a handful of players will ever truly be good enough to make a name for themselves in basketball.
Another wonderful aspect of "Flint Star" is the way in which Davenport examines both sides of the coin for an NBA Star from an urban ghetto...the importance of giving back to the community AND also the realization that once you get rich and famous it gets harder to return home surrounded by so many who still have so little. It was this aspect that most struck me following this past week's episode with Indiana Pacer Shawne Williams, himself a product of a very challenging childhood.
"Flint Star," produced on a $40,000 budget and largely financed by Davenport himself, is a wonderful example of grassroots filmmaking and a sign of great promise for Davenport's future in filmmaking. Despite its modest production values, "Flint Star" is a marvelous view for basketball fans around the world.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic