TORONTO, Aug. 11, 2021 - The National Basketball Association (NBA), Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) today announced the launch of "NBA Films For Fans created with OLG," a short film programme featuring five Canadian filmmakers and basketball fans designed to celebrate Canada's connection to the game in conjunction with the league's 75th Anniversary season.
All five films, commissioned by the NBA and sponsored by OLG, will debut during a Special Event at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival in September and will honour major moments, milestones and core values that serve as the foundation of the league's identity in Canada. Each filmmaker received a grant from the NBA and support from OLG, unprecedented access to the league's video archives, and will receive promotional support from the league throughout the season.
"Over the last 75 years, the NBA has become synonymous with exhilarating performances, global reach, and a commitment to a more equitable society," said Leah MacNab, NBA Canada Managing Director. "We're proud to collaborate with OLG and TIFF on this tribute to Canadian basketball fans, made possible by a brilliant roster of filmmakers who reflect the passion and diversity of our league."
"OLG is proud to be part of this unique partnership with the NBA," said Randy Weyersberg, OLG's Vice President of Brand Management and Marketing. "Supporting Canadian filmmakers who are so dedicated to a sport invented by Ontario-born Dr. James Naismith is a natural fit for OLG's love of sport and play."
"The history of Canadian basketball - from the first-ever NBA game at Maple Leaf Gardens to the birth of the Toronto Raptors, to our first NBA championship - is fundamental to the story of our city," said Cameron Bailey, Toronto International Film Festival Artistic Director & Co-Head. "As such, the Toronto International Film Festival is proud to help bring basketball back to the North this September. We look forward to celebrating our love of the game with the NBA and OLG at this Special Event, as we showcase new work from Canadian filmmakers (and superfans)."
In Shorty, a father gives his daughter a history lesson of the greatest small NBA players in the history of the league to illustrate that height isn't all you need. Starring a real-life father and daughter team, Shorty is a film that speaks to the dreamer in all of us.
- Shawn Gerrard: Inheritance
Inheritance examines how the love of basketball is passed from parents to children, for players and fans alike. Weaving the stories of real multi-generational NBA players with that of a father and son who become closer to each other - and their hometown Toronto Raptors - through a passion for the game.
- Kat Jayme: Born Identities
Born Identities chronicles the genesis of the logos of Canada's two NBA franchises, the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies during the league's 1995 expansion north of the border. Born Identities is a passionate and energetic look into the creation of these brand designs and their legacy as fan sentiment has evolved over two decades.
- Thyrone Tommy: Draft Day
The day of the NBA Draft sees the perseverance, hard work, and dreams of an athlete and their community on the verge of being realized. With sky-high stakes and equally heightened emotions, Draft Day is an intimate look at the potential of those life-altering days through the eyes of Canadian NBA hopefuls.
- S.M. Turrell: The Shot
The Shot is a visceral return to the moment for those who saw the shot, and marker of history for those who didn't. Stylized imagery, a gripping montage, and a hypnotic music score will merge with a personal monologue, a rhapsody to that indelible sports moment.
Throughout the NBA's 75th Anniversary Season, the league will pay tribute to generations of basketball fans around the world and will honour the past, present and future of the NBA. Each short film as part of NBA Films For Fans created with OLG will run no more than seven minutes and 50 seconds in a nod to the NBA's 75th anniversary and will be released online at key moments throughout the season following their world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Fans can register to be notified of each release at NBA.com/FilmsForFans.
The NBA's inaugural season took place in 1946-47 and featured 11 teams. The NBA's first game was held in Toronto at Maple Leaf Gardens on Nov. 1, 1946, when the Toronto Huskies played the New York Knickerbockers.
For more information, fans in Canada can follow the NBA on Facebook (NBACanada), Twitter (@NBACanada) and Instagram (@NBACanada).