OLG and NBA showcase Canada’s love of basketball with special event at TIFF 2021
Posted on Sep 20, 2021 by Brad McCabe
Five Canadian filmmakers explore what basketball means to them through short films

Ever since Toronto’s incredible 2019 NBA championship victory, Canadians across the country have a renewed love of basketball. Many casual fans were converted to superfans, and this year, they have another reason to celebrate. The NBA marks its 75 anniversary th this November. To commemorate the milestone and what it means to Canadians, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has partnered with the Toronto International Film Festival and the NBA to premiere a short film programme, dubbed “NBA Films For Fans created with OLG”, at this year’s Festival.

OLG is a proud supporter of the Ontario arts and entertainment industry, and this collaboration with TIFF and the NBA has helped Canadian BIPOC filmmakers express how basketball has touched their lives. Each filmmaker received a grant from the NBA and support from OLG as well as unprecedented access to the league’s archives. Each will receive additional promotional support from the league to spread their work far and wide during the upcoming season.

Filmmakers Romeo Candido, Shawn Gerrard, Kathleen S. Jayme, Thyrone Tommy and S.M. Turrell all share their personal takes on pieces of the league’s history. Candido and Gerard explore NBA history through families, each film highlighting basketball as the glue for intergenerational bonds. Jayme’s work takes the audience through the fascinating evolution of the Toronto Raptors’ and Vancouver Grizzlies’ logos since the nineties. Tommy and Turell’s films chronicle breathtaking moments of the sport: from emotional draft picks to unforgettable shots.

“Over the last 75 years, the NBA has become synonymous with exhilarating performances, global reach, and a commitment to a more equitable society,” said Leah Macnab, NBA Canada Managing Director. “We’re proud to collaborate with OLG and TIFF on this tribute to Canadian basketball fans, made possible by a brilliant roster of filmmakers who reflect the passion and diversity of our league.”

“OLG is proud to be part of this unique partnership with the NBA,” says Randy Weyersberg, OLG’S Vice President of Brand Management and Marketing. “Supporting Canadian filmmakers who are so dedicated to a sport invented by Ontario-born Dr. James Naismith is a natural fit for OLG’S love of sport and play.”It’s fitting that Toronto is hosting the world premiere of the five-film series on September 17, just a few weeks before the anniversary of the very first NBA game, which was also held in Toronto in November of 1946 when the league was called the Basketball Association of America. The city’s team was named the Toronto Huskies. With the introduction of the Raptors in 1995, Toronto once again became a basketball hotspot, and generations of fans from across the country have flocked to the city ever since.

“The history of Canadian basketball - from the first-ever NBA game at Maple Leaf Gardens to the birth of the Toronto Raptors, to their first NBA championship — is fundamental to the story of our city,” says Cameron Bailey, Toronto International Film Festival Artistic Director & Co-head.

“The Toronto International Film Festival is proud to help bring basketball back to the North this September. We look forward to celebrating our love of the game with the NBA and OLG at this special event, as we showcase new work from Canadian filmmakers (and superfans).”

At the TIFF world premiere, the filmmakers will take the stage to discuss their works during a Q&A in front of a live audience at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Throughout the year, each of the five NBA Films For Fans created with OLG will be released online on significant dates in the league’s history.