THE DOC SHOT Q AND A: Kristopher Belman, Director, 'More Than a Game'
The DOC SHOT Q&A is an exclusive online feature by Documentary
magazine associate editor Tamara Krinsky. Through this mix of questions
(some serious, some sassy), each DOC SHOT provides a glimpse into the work and
lives of those creating and supporting nonfiction film.
Director/Producer: More Than a Game
Brief description of your film.
More Than A Game is about five boys from the inner city who use the sport of basketball to form a family, become men and accomplish their dreams--all under the guidance of their coach/father figure.
Your role/credit on the film.
I directed and produced the film.
How did you find your subject or become involved in the film?
I was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. While attending Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, I signed up for an “Introduction to Documentary” class. I decided I wanted to shoot my class project in my hometown and had read about a group of boys who played together for several years before entering high school. I found this friendship to be unique, and decided it would be a good basis for my ten-minute class film. After spending a few practices with the team, I felt that the relationships that the boys was something very inspiring, and that the scope of the project was far beyond ten minutes. I spent the next seven and a half years with the boys, making sure their story was told the right way.
Was there a moment in this film that went a different way than you expected?
The best player on the team I was chronicling was suspended for the rest of his high school career. It was something that caught the entire team by surprise, and provided a large moment of drama as the team had to win without him. It was a prime example of how nonfiction can usually be more interesting than the scripted world.
If you had had an extra $10,000 to spend on your film, what would you have used it for?
I would use it to do something nice for my crew—they really went above and beyond for years as we worked to finish this film. I can honestly say that the hard work they put in inspired me when I went through struggles. Together we were able to produce something really special. I’m not sure what—maybe take a group trip to Hawaii? The In-and-Out truck at the very least…
What's the first film you remember seeing as a child?
Back to the Future. After watching that, all I wanted was a DeLorean.
Tell us about a film that affected your profoundly or changed/inspired the way you do your own work.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off—John Hughes was so incredible at creating characters, and Ferris was my idol as a kid. The serendipitous way in which he approached life was something I wanted to do, and I really try to approach filmmaking with that kind of attitude. It’s such an inherently stressful job, I think every once in a while you have to ask yourself “What Would Ferris Do?”
What would surprise people the most about your job or the way you execute it?
I think the world of nonfiction is extremely rewarding on a personal level. Spending seven years working with the subjects of my film, I really felt like I became a part of their worlds. That kind of experience really allows you to grow as a person, and that was one of the most incredible aspects of making this film.
When you are feeling creatively stumped or burnt out, what do you do to get the creativity flowing again?
A good run always clears the mind!
Exclusive photo of Kristopher Belman at a screening of More Than a Game hosted by Nike
Daily essential reads (online or off)?
Akron Beacon Journal
Cleveland Plain Dealer
New York Times
What's on your TIVO or iPod right now?
TIVO: The new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, True Blood, Californication, and all things Food Network. Bobby Flay is the man!
What do you want more of in your life?
Time--specifically to spend with family and friends. Oh, and salsa. I love salsa.
What do you want less of in your life?
Phone calls, texts and e-mails. Oh, and paper cuts. Those hurt so freaking bad.
If you could add an extra hour to every day, how would you spend it?
I’d love to get a little more sleep.
What do you want for your birthday?
Hmmm. I never did get my DeLorean…
[IDA's suggestion: check out the BTTF.com's DeLorean Time Machine Rentals!]
More Than a Game opens in select theaters around the country on October 2nd, expanding to additional cities throughout the month. For play dates, click here.