Hoop Dreams

William Gates and Arthur Agee are two average American teenagers from inner-city Chicago, who dream of the impossible: to become professional NBA players. Every day, they travel 90 minutes each way to St. Joseph High School in Westchester, Illinois, a predominately white suburban school, well-known for the excellence of its basketball program. As they follow their unlikely path to stardom, they are forced to battle class and racial discrimination, as well as train hard and deal with cutthroat competition. What started out as a 30-minute short, eventually led to an epic portrait of the American Dream, with director Steve James documenting the lives of the two young protagonists and their families for five years. Through 250 hours of footage, he was able to piece together one of the most emblematic American documentaries of all time, which justifiably won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival and even earned an Oscar nomination.