The filmmaker says he’s left no stone unturned in his documentary about the Vancouver Grizzlies

Kathleen Jayme was only six years old when the Vancouver Grizzlies were founded, and she “really fell in love with basketball because of it.”

“They taught me how to dream big,” Jayme told CBC News on Saturday ahead of the screening of his award-winning feature film. Grizzlies’ Truth.

“The feeling that they inspired me has stuck with me for years. When I was in film school, you know, at UBC [University of British Columbia]more than a decade ago, this was like the movie I wanted to make in my career.

“It took a lot of hard work, it was like a team effort, I had so many people behind me supporting me, making this dream project come to life,” he added.

On November 29, Photon Films made the announcement Grizzlies’ Truth will be rolling out across Canada this winter.

Jayme was just six years old when the Vancouver Grizzlies were founded, and he “literally fell in love with basketball because of them.” (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Saturday’s screening – supported by Telefilm Canada – was held at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, as part of a nationwide theatrical run.

Founded in 1995, along with the Toronto Raptors, as part of the NBA’s expansion into Canada, the Vancouver Grizzlies moved to Memphis, Tennessee, after the 2000–2001 season and changed their name to the Memphis Grizzlies.

For die-hard fans, the team’s sudden move to Memphis is more than just a sore point: it’s an unsolved mystery, and possibly a criminal conspiracy, according to Photon Films.

Jayme – a Filipino-Canadian director based in Vancouver – begins an investigation into the disappearance of his hometown team, which later becomes an exploration of fandom’s deep roots, and an irreverent exposure of professional sports’ wild business, added Photon Films.

The Grizzlies are gone: Vancouver has lost its NBA franchise

After six miserable years of losing in Vancouver, the Grizzlies applied to move to Memphis, Tenn. Grizzlies Record: NBA

Jayme says he’s spent the past decade dreaming up the film, and the last seven making it.

“I have left no stone unturned to uncover Grizzlies’ Truth,” Jayme said, but would not elaborate on what he had found.

The film features NBA stars including Antonio Harvey, George Lynch, Tony Massenburg, Steve Francis and many more.

“I literally ambushed Steve Francis at the autograph signing. He had no idea I was coming,” Jayme said.

But he just wanted “five seconds to run in front of him, throw him, like, ‘I did this film, I want to tell your side of the story, I want you to have a voice in the film,'” he said.

“And you know, luckily Steve said, ‘Yeah’ and he came to Vancouver, he’s now here in Toronto, so he’s helping spread the word. He’s helping spread the word Grizzlies’ Truthand I am very grateful that he has been a great team player.”

Former American professional basketball player Steve Francis said he was “absolutely happy” he was able to “express some things that people don’t really know about me.” (CBC)

Francis said he was “really happy” he could “uncover some things that people don’t really know” about him.

He credited Jayme with her work and getting “the right people to tell her story.” Grizzlies’ Truth.

Francis hopes that the presence of American players in Canada who talk about basketball will also be an inspiration for children who like the game.

“A lot of times, Canadian kids don’t really get a chance to see a lot of American basketball players other than if they’re going to a game,” he says.

“So, to come back, I guess hopefully this is the start of when we come back and just talk about the game of basketball, which is really taking over Canada.”

During the Grizzlies’ first three years, the NBA limited the team to the first five draft picks overall, and the salary cap was limited to the first two.

Jayme says the inaugural team is made up entirely of expansion players — essentially, players the other teams don’t want.

It is one of the obvious reasons for their poor record in the league. After two wins in their first two games, the Grizzlies were on a 19-game losing streak. The second half of the season got even worse, with 23 straight losses.

During their six years in Vancouver, the Grizzlies won 101 games — and lost 359.

In the documentary, Jayme talks with Stu Jackson, the team’s general manager for its first five seasons, which he finds exhausting due to the team’s lack of success.

Grizzlies’ Truth had its world premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival to sold out audiences in October, received the VIFF Audience Award, and won Best Documentary at the Reel Asian Film Festival.

The film’s national theatrical run also includes confirmed dates in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Richmond and Langley.

Hadwin Floyd

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