More details to come!
We are thrilled to announce that, at long last, 'At All Costs' is finished and primed for its world premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival on Sunday, April 26th 2015 at 3:00pm. Making this film has been an absolute labor of love and we couldn't be more excited to finally release it! We appreciate the interest, support and anticipation from the basketball community - and we're looking forward to unleashing a dynamic campaign leading up to the premiere and through to the film's distribution release later this summer. For anyone interested in attending the premiere, the festival is open to the public so feel free to come through and check us out! Here's a link to buy tickets:
More details to come!
It's been awesome to watch Gabe & Parker play such important roles for Arizona this season. Heading into the Sweet 16 this weekend the Wildcats are poised to march closer to the program's first Final Four in 14 years. A lot has changed since they lost to Duke in the 2001 Championship game - the program undoubtedly hardened by so many close calls in the ensuing years.
But Sean Miller has them back on the doorstep again - and time will tell if they have the strength to kick the door in. Gabe in particular has found his stroke at the right time - establishing himself as the team's most vital offensive weapon. The surge in his production coincides with some life changes he's made - most specifically by canceling his social media accounts.
We've written recently about Gabe's burgeoning maturity, and others have been lauding his new approach as well:
The LA Times has taken notice of York City's evolution, too:
Here's hoping Gabe stays hot!
There has been a lot written lately about the NCAA's long-term viability, the various age-restriction proposals for the NBA's next Collective Bargaining Agreement, and the status of Amateur-ism in general. Super-agent Arn Tellem took to Grantland last week to pen his own thoughts on how to overhaul the NBA's Development League to more thoroughly develop young players:
The average NBA fan doesn't appreciate how influential power Agents like Tellum are inside NBA circles. Their power is wielded behind closed doors so the public doesn't get a chance to see them in action, but their fingerprints are all over every major move within the broader basketball landscape. From AAU to the NCAA to the NBA - Agents dictate the terms of the sport's most important conversations. For example – the age restriction is likely to be a key issue during the upcoming CBA, and you can be sure the Agents will fight hard to repeal the “1-year removed from High School” stipulation currently in place – and adopt an “over my dead body” stance on the owner’s initiative to increase the age minimum to 20 (or 2 years removed from high school). Why do they take this position? Because Agents don’t see any big commissions on a player’s first contract – the big payday arrives on their second deal. Power agents like Tellum are already busy maneuvering to make sure their clients (and their pockets) get to that 2nd contract as fast as possible.
Tellum makes some interesting points in his article, but in my mind he doesn't go far enough. For all the people who actually understand how significant agents are within the basketball ecosystem, even fewer appreciate AAU's role in it all. Yes - not every AAU star pans out to be an NBA stud. But the truth is AAU basketball consolidates America's best talent and aggregates it all onto various commercialized stages that are invite-only. If you're not playing on the big time AAU stage, entrée to the upper echelons of basketball opportunity is extremely difficult. The 'branding' of these kids begins as early as 14 and 15 – as soon as they choose a shoe company to play for. It only gets more complicated from there. Make no mistake - Agents are all over AAU basketball. And they should be – choosing an Agent is one of the most important decisions a professional athlete will ever make – and the NCAA provides only for a laughable 2-week period for early-entrants to meet, vet & sign with an agent. This is obviously a preposterous situation – and those in-the-know understand that these player-Agent relationships are cultivated as soon as these players establish market value (usually when they’re 15 or 16 years old).
This is yet another reason why AAU basketball, as presently constituted, is the NBA's real minor league. In my mind, AAU is where professional basketball truly begins in America, and agents like Tellum have played a big part in facilitating that reality. His thoughts are a step forward, but there's a deeper conversation to be had - a conversation our film takes head on. This is one of the many reasons I wanted to make ‘At All Costs’ – and I’m hopeful the film’s content will open a lot of people’s eyes.
"It's a lot easier being a drug dealer than an AAU coach - you know what you're dealing with every day when you're a dealer."
I'm thinking a lot today about Sports Illustrated's profile of Curtis Malone - D.C. Assault's infamous (and now incarcerated) founder & CEO. The quote above comes from a phone interview Malone gave SI's Pete Thamel from jail.
Malone's story is obviously a tragic one - but this quote speaks volumes about the AAU lifestyle. Traveling around the country with the Compton Magic's Etop Udo-Ema gave me a first-hand feel for how dynamically unpredictable any given day is in AAU circles. There is no such thing as an "average day". Moreover, there is no off-season. Operating an elite AAU team has become a full-time, year-round enterprise for the biggest programs. Flourishing on that level requires such a dizzying array of skill-sets - and the range of different tasks on any given day is staggering. I'm excited to share "At All Costs" with the world for so many reasons, but in particular because of the inside-look the film provides at what it takes to run a top-flight AAU program.
If you're curious or missed it when it was originally published, you can read the whole Malone article here: http://www.si.com/college-basketball/2014/08/20/curtis-malone-aau-basketball-drug-arrest
Another solid night for Mr. York last night, pacing Arizona’s road win at Colorado with 14 pts & 5 rebs – highlighted by his white-hot first-half shooting that blew the game open. On the heels of his standout performance in their win over UCLA last week, Gabe’s confidence seems to be high at just the right time for the Wildcats.
NBC Sports wrote this morning about Gabe’s emergence as Arizona’s X-Factor:
This post-game interview with the ESPN crew capped off Gabe’s big night:
It has been especially rewarding to see Gabe perform well this season. While making At All Costs we spent a lot of time with Gabe leading up to and throughout his freshman year at U of A. He had a disappointing season and he was clearly frustrated with his lack of playing time.
I know he gave a lot of thought to the possibility of transferring to another program where he could play a bigger role – a course of action that many “AAU stars” take when their freshman seasons don’t play out to their liking. But Gabe stayed. He stuck it out and worked his ass off. He believed in the coaching staff and put his trust in their plan. It’s refreshing to see his faith rewarded. He may not be Arizona’s best player, but it’s hard to see how he’s not their most important player. His outside shooting opens up their whole offense. If he can sustain this level of play, the Cats will be tough to beat during their postseason run.
So this mixtape has been getting a lot of play today:
A few things are immediately obvious. In order: 1) this is LeBron’s kid. 2) Little Bronny’s got a great handle for a ten year old. 3) He’s also ten years old.
This mixtape speaks to a growing trend within the basketball community – the race to discover (and profile) kids as young as possible. Scouting services are increasingly ranking kids younger than ever before. Middle-School rankings have become commonplace – so a mixtape for a 5th-grader doesn’t come as any real surprise. But it should serve as a harbinger of things to come as the recruiting landscape in America continues to evolve.
The big question is what does this tape ACTUALLY mean? Does it mean Lil’ Bronny is destined for a long NBA career? Does it mean he’ll play crunch time minutes in meaningful college basketball games? Does it even mean that he’ll star on his high school squad? Not necessarily. Mostly the tape serves to help ESPN drive traffic during today's media cycle.
There’s a lot to be said in other forums about the impact this attention has on a 5th-grader’s psychological development, but in the most immediate basketball context it guarantees nothing. Just ask Michael Jordan’s kids.
As much as I live & breathe basketball, music was my first love. One of the most exciting aspects of directing 'At All Costs' has been the opportunities I've had to work with some very talented musicians while working on the film's soundtrack. Fellow USC film school alum George Lucas once noted that sound is 50% of the movie-going experience - and it's been a thrill to work with some of my favorite artists in constructing a dynamic score that really elevates the film. Over the course of the coming weeks I'll be writing more about some of the people we've been collaborating with on the "At All Costs" soundtrack - but suffice it to say we've got some awesome surprises in store for you guys on the music tip...
Hey everybody, it feels like the right time to check in with an update on the movie. First and most importantly, we want to thank everyone for their interest...we appreciate the follows, the tweets, and all the anticipation surrounding the release. So - to answer the most pressing question we've been getting - YES, the movie is still coming out. We can't wait to share it with the world. A few things happened that compelled us to extend the timeline, but the movie is much stronger as a result. There are still a few distribution variables up in the air that will dictate the exact release date, but there will be more exciting details coming soon...