Back to News

GET YOUR TICKETS TO LOVE & BASKETBALL IN 35mm (Thursday, 2/13 @ 6:30 p.m.) NOW!

“How often do you get to see black folks either expressing their sexuality or expressing love or intimacy? It’s not that often you get to see it, even on television. It’s a rare thing and we as a people need to see ourselves fall in love and be in love and be inspired by that and aspire to that.”


Gina Prince-Bythewood’s career can be defined by two things – an uncanny ability to take the personal and that make it profoundly accessible, and a desire to bring Black stories, Black performers, and Black filmmakers to the big screen. And in the two decades she’s been working in the industry, she’s left an indelible mark (Love & Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees, Beyond the Lights), one perfectly suited to our Black Love Through a Black Lens series, presenting her debut film, Love & Basketball, as part of our Black History Month programming.


“I love writing and directing because it's great therapy. Every project I've done there's been a personal connection.”

Her ability to mine the personal should come as no surprise – after all, this is a filmmaker who was able to take her athletic background (recruited as a college basketball player before committing to the UCLA film program) and spin it into the classic Love & Basketball (did we mention that you can see it this Thursday?). It’s the same filmmaker who was able to layer in her experiences of adoption into the background of the main character in Beyond the Lights. As she herself has said “I need the personal. I get bored without it.” Her characters, always fully realized and striving towards self-discovery (a recurring theme are strong Black women who seek out personal and professional success, refusing to sacrifice one for the other), ensure that you’ll never get bored as an audience member.


“I feel what's discriminated against are my choices — which is to focus on people of color and more specifically women of color. Those are the films that are not getting made and those are the films that take a lot more fight. But I'm up for the fight, because if I'm not making them they're not going to get made, and then we become invisible again.”

It’s difficult to stay true to these goals in an industry that struggles to support original voices and diversity, as evidenced by only four completed feature films over the course of two decades (“I get offered a ton of stuff and if I wanted to get work all the time I could. But I like to direct what I've written.”). But as she herself has stated, “It is exhausting, but I have to protect my vision and my voice. If I get a note on my script or my films, what I say to a studio executive is that, "You know this is the film of my legacy and I never want to be sitting in a theater looking up on the screen and seeing something that I don't believe in." I will never do that.” That commitment to her values is what makes each of her films uniquely resonant and emotionally rich experiences, and we are all the better for them.  


GET YOUR TICKETS TO LOVE & BASKETBALL IN 35mm (Thursday, 2/13 @ 6:30 p.m.) NOW!

Posted by: Tom Fuchs