From Deep is a new feature-length experimental documentary by Pittsburgh filmmaker Brett Kashmere, which explores the three-decade love affair between basketball and rap. Part sociological treatise, part audiovisual mixtape, Kashmere’s ambitious documentary delivers a high-energy history of basketball’s evolution in American culture: from indoor New England novelty to outdoor urban phenomenon.
Using basketball as an entry point into larger discussions of collective identity, race, and fandom, From Deep combines elements of the personal essay and the mixtape to illustrate the shifting relationship between social, cultural, and political forces and developments in America. Part cultural history, part reflection on the game as part of everyday life, From Deep unites two interrelated developments form the mid-1980s which together propelled basketball to its prominent position in the American (and global) consciousness: Michael Jordan’s entry into the NBA (and emergence as the world’s first corporate branded athlete), and hip hop’s movement from counter-cultural margins to the mainstream. The parallel ascent of the sport and music genre is traced through a vast array of clips culled from movies, music videos, news footage, highlight reels, and videos games, and iconic songs such as Kurtis Blow’s Basketball and Run-DMC’s My Adidas. Providing poetic counterpoint are documentary “moving snapshots” of neighborhood pickup and streetball games around the country: from the small towns of Indiana, to playgrounds in Hartford and Akron, indoor gyms in Springfield, Mass. and Louisville, improvised makeshift courts on parking and abandoned lots in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, and famous outdoor blacktops like Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park and The Cage at West 4th Street in downtown New York, among others.
This screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Brett Kashmere in conversation with Jace Clayton (also known as DJ /rupture), who provided music direction for the film.