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'Hoop Dreams' will have 20th anniversary screening at Sundance

Published December 11, 2013 3:19 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Here's one way a movie critic can tell he's getting old: The Sundance Film Festival picks as its "From the Collection" archival work a movie the critic covered when it was new.

Sundance organizers today announced that "Hoop Dreams," the landmark 1994 documentary about the ups and downs of two basketball prospects through high-school and college play, will have a 20th anniversary screening in Park City on Jan. 20 during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

One of the film's subjects, Arthur Agee, is expected to attend, and take part in a post-screening discussion of the film — along with filmmakers Steve James, Peter Gilbert and Frederick Marx.

The film was recently restored through a collaboration of the Sundance Institute, the UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Academy Film Archive and James' production company, Kartemquin Films.

"Hoop Dreams" was shot primarily on analog Beta SP videotape, so the image was cropped and transferred for commercial release. The restoration team created a new uncropped, high-definition digital master, using multiple elements includign standard definition video masters and a 35mm print.

When "Hoop Dreams" opened in 1994, Roger Ebert was an early champion of it. "A film like 'Hoop Dreams' is what the movies are for," Ebert wrote in his Chicago Sun-Times review. "It takes us, shakes us, and make us think in new ways about the world around us. It gives us the impression of having touched life itself. … It is one of the great movie-going experiences of my lifetime."

It's a touching convergence that Steve James' most recent movie, "Life Itself," a profile of Ebert based on the late critic's memoir, will have its premiere at Sundance.