Doin’ it in the Park : let’s talk with filmakers Bobbito Garcia and Kevin Couliau
This summer, we had the opportunity to talk with both filmakers of Doin it in the Park, Kevin Couliau and Bobbito Garcia, who kindly answered to our questions while flying to Asia. Their film is a huge success all over the world, the screenings and audiences are always sold out… Who thought people would show so much love to pick-up basketball ? Well, they did !
Here is the interview we had with them. We discussed filmaking, memories, passion, New York, Asia and even Brian Scalabrine !
1. Why did you choose to make a movie about the New York playground scene?
Bobbito Garcia : No one had ever made a documentary about outdoor pick-up basketball before, yet it’s the common denominator of the sport. Everyone plays it all over the world. Kevin and I are ballplayers. NYC is my hometown. We were filling a void.
Kevin Couliau : We both have been documenting New York playground basketball for years, basketball is in our blood so it was a natural progression for us to work on a documentary. We explore the history, culture and social impact of pick-up basketball in the mecca of the sport but everyone around the world can relate to the stories told in our film.
2. How hard was it to make a movie when none of you had ever made one before?
BG : Filming and playing ball every day was fun! Editing and figuring out how to independently distribute the film has been the greatest tasks. Proud to say digital downloads and streams are now on sale worldwide directly from our official site www.doinitinthepark.com. DVDs/Blu-Rays on the way. Television broadcasts in France on Sundance International Channel. We’ve screened the film in six continents now and did a theatrical release in the US and UK. We done a lot and we’ll keep pushing to get the message out there.
KC : I had never worked on a Feature documentary but had some experience filming for Heart & Soul of New York City – Filming Doin’ It In the Park was intense because we were carrying the equipment in backpacks and riding our bicycle around the 5 boroughs during 75 days. The editing process was even more exhausting since we spent countless hours behind the station in Paris & NYC, trying to achieve a structure that would make sense and entertaining for every viewer, wether they are basketball players or not.
We tried to explore the history, culture and social impact of pick-up basketball in the mecca of the sport but everyone around the world can relate to the stories told in our film
3. So, how do you make a movie about basket-ball ? How do you capture the energy, the intensity of the Game ?
BG : Kevin can answer this best. He’s the real filmmaker, haha!
KC : Being a basketball player myself I have this little advantage, I know when and what to shoot, I can anticipate some moves and react to capture the essence of the game. New York City is such a cinematic environment that filming the players in some of the most beautiful playgrounds on earth makes my job easier. A lot of credit should go to my brother David Couliau, the editor of the film, he played a big role in adjusting the tempo and energy of the film – his experience in the skateboarding video world was a key point to give rhythm to our piece since both sports have visual similarities.
4. What are the memories you’re keeping of this shooting ? What kind of people have you met ? What did it bring to you ?
BG : Experience was unforgettable. Please watch our « Making of » videos at www.doinitinthepark.com, as well as our « Deleted Scenes » which are hilarious.
KC : The best experience in my life – Filming, playing basketball and riding my bicycle in New York City during two consecutive summers. I would do it again if I could. This movie will live for ever and as already brought so much things to us that we hope it will never stop !
Vimeo: please specify correct url
5. When finished, what impact did you want the movie to have on the people who saw (or going to see) it ?
BG : Our film was a love letter to advocate others to play, no matter where they are from. It’s working! We’ve seen audiences be motivated to get on the court as soon as they come out the theater!
KC : Stop playing video games, play ball outdoors !
6. You presented the movie in a lot of places all over the world, did you feel the same energy everywhere you went ? Is there any place you liked more than the other ?
BG : NYC and the Philippines I’d say have been the strongest, most feverish reactions at a screening I’ve personally witnessed so far.
KC : Asia is definitely the biggest audience for us but the most reactive during the screenings. People are living & breathing basketball in Manila & Taipei – it’s surreal.
7. Style is a big part of pick-up basketball, is there any must-have sneakers, according to you?
BG : There are no « must-have » sneakers in my opinion. We were in Manila and saw the majority of kids outdoors playing barefooted or in flip flops! They can’t afford shoes, but that doesn’t stop the love. I witnessed the same when I was Senegal, South Africa, and Zimbabwe as well. Of course, if you have the funds, Nike makes some great performance kicks. I personally dig the Lebron Soldier VI. Nike has been supportive of our film, having included a screening at some of their events worldwide including China, Mexico, Japan, UK, and Philippines.
KC : The only must have you need is a basketball.
8. Which today’s NBA players would make great pick-up ballers? Personally, I think Kryptonate would be a great one !
BG : All of them! Obviously ones like Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Lebron who can create their own shot would excel, but there’s always room on a squad for a spot up shooter in the hood (if they can adjust to the wind, heat, asphalt, etc. which some can not).
KC : No need to be a superstar to be a pick-up basketball player, I’m pretty sure we could be surprised by the efficiency of guys like Brian Scalabrine or Ricky Rubio on a pick-up session. The game played outdoor is the same, you just have more space for creativity and sometimes you have to play smart and use your experience to win games. So you can be the best shooter on earth but loose all your games against an old experienced center that will make sure he hits the backboard on each shot.
Our film was a love letter to advocate others to play, no matter where they are from
9. What are the greatest movies or documentaries about basketball that you’ve seen?
BG : Too many! Complex Magazine voted our film top 25 greatest sports docs of all-time (http://www.complex.com/sports/2013/02/the-25-greatest-sports-documentaries-of-all-time/doin-it-in-the-park), and we were honored to be on the same list with Hoop Dreams, Through The Fire and others that influenced us.
10. Kevin, what do you think of the french streetball scene? Would a French « Doin it in the park » be possible?
KC : Of course, France has a lot of history when it comes to playground basketball but the biggest challenge would be to find the archives from the 80’s/90’s. Traveling around France to document the local communities and their favorite courts would be fun but the history & culture is way deeper in New York City and it was our domain of expertise. I’m pretty sure we have a lot of guys in Paris who would tell stories about Moustapha Sonko better than i could do !
11. Bobbito, you’re a DJ, can you tell us how important was the selection of the soundtrack for this movie? Why did you choose those artists?
BG : As the music supervisor, I wanted to score the film with music that people wouldn’t readily associate with outdoor basketball, but that would enhance the scenes with soul. Luckily Kevin and I both love Jazz, Funk, Afro-Beat and Latin, and editor David Couliau was phenomenal at taking my selections and making a beautiful rhythm with scenes. We were very lucky to have nine-time Grammy Award winner Eddie Palmieri create original compositions as well. We’re releasing a soundtrack EP this summer featuring his songs and sound bites from the courts in the doc. It’s insane! Check www.doinitinthepark.com for release date announcement soon.
Vimeo: please specify correct url
Well, Thanks a lot for your answers guys !
BG : Merci, à bientôt !
KC : Merci Matthieu