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2014 Sundance Film Fest Announces 20th Anniversary of Newly-Restored 'Hoop Dreams' As 'From the Collection' Screening

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by Natasha Greeves
December 11, 2013 4:21 PM
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Sundance Institute today announced that the newly-restored, acclaimed documentary Hoop Dreams will screen in the "From the Collection" program at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, 20 years after the film made its world premiere at the 1994 Festival. 

The recently completed restoration represents the collaborative effort of Sundance Institute, UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Academy Film Archive and Kartemquin Films. Filmmakers Steve James, Peter Gilbert and Frederick Marx and subject Arthur Agee are expected to participate in an extended Q&A immediately following the January 20 screening. The 2014 Festival will be January 16-26 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.

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.

Hoop Dreams completely changed the way we experience documentary films and the stories they tell. And that profound impact is still being felt 20 years later,” said John Nein, Senior Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival. “People assume that these seminal films will stay safe on their own, when in fact we really need to take a proactive approach to safeguarding them. We are proud to be part of the film’s history and, through its restoration, its future as well.”

Filmed over five years, with unprecedented access, Hoop Dreams, directed by Steve James, chronicles the lives of Arthur Agee and William Gates, two inner-city teenagers from Chicago. Through their skills on the basketball court they struggle to escape their surroundings and realize their dreams of making it to the NBA. 

The film won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival. Despite its length (171 minutes) and unlikely commercial prospects, it received high critical and popular acclaim, became an Academy Award nominee for Best Film Editing and was added to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in 2005.

If you've never seen Hoop Dreams, the entire film is embedded below courtesy of Hulu, although it's not the newly-restored version that will screen at Sundance next month. There will likely be a home entertainment release of that version down the road.

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