Documentary Premieres goes behind the scenes of a sports sensation, before the fame: Evan Jackson Leong’s LINSANITY
Sundance Program Description:
In February 2012, an entire nation of basketball fans unexpectedly went “Linsane.” Stuck in the mire of a disappointing season, the New York Knicks did what no other NBA team had thought about doing—they gave backup point guard Jeremy Lin an opportunity to prove himself. He took full advantage, scoring more points in his first five NBA starts than any other player in the modern era, and created a legitimate public frenzy in the process. Prior to this now-legendary run, Lin had faced adversity in his career at every turn. He wasn’t offered a scholarship by any major university, nor was he drafted by any NBA team after a standout collegiate career at Harvard.
Director Evan Jackson Leong embarked on this documentary before Jeremy Lin was a household name, following the future star as he struggled to find his place in a league where Asian American players are few and far between. More than just a film for basketball addicts, LINSANITY serves as an insightful study of the way we perceive race in America and shows what is possible if someone believes in himself.
Leong is a Sundance alum as co-producer of FINISHING THE GAME: THE SEARCH FOR A NEW BRUCE LEE (2007). He also worked on BETTER LUCK TOMORROW (2002), including directing a short about the making of Justin Lin’s acclaimed Sundance dramatic feature. His producers include Christopher Chen, who previously produced sports-themed docs including THE YEAR OF THE YAO and FANTASYLAND, as well as Rian Johnson’s LOOPER; Brian Yang, who appeared as an actor in Sundance alum SAVING FACE (2005); and Allen Lu, who is part of Jeremy Lin’s business development team. Executive producers include James D Stern, producer of Sundance alum 35 MILES FROM NORMAL (1997), executive producer of Sundance winner AN EDUCATION (2009), as well as the director of several documentaries, including the basketball-focused THE YEAR OF THE YAO and MICHAEL JORDAN TO THE MAX; Patricia Sun, Jeremy Lin’s business manager (and sister-in-law); and Sam Kwok.
Why You Should Watch:
Leong’s film has been in the works long before Lin achieved overnight fame, so it’s no hurriedly slapped together celebrity puff piece. While the phenomenon is documented, the heart of the film is in Lin himself – his background, religious convictions, and early experiences that led up to his big break. Audiences will connect with his underdog story, the hurdles of racial stereotyping, and the racism he has faced on the court.
For more information about the film, visit its Facebook page, or join the mailing list on its in-progress website. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.