SBD/January 23, 2013/People and Pop Culture

New Documentary On Rockets' Jeremy Lin Offers Insider's View Of "Linsanity"

"Linsanity" includes on-camera interviews and home video footage of the Rockets star
Chinese-American filmmaker EVAN JACKSON LEONG already was shooting his documentary "Linsanity" about Rockets G JEREMY LIN’s career "well before the stardom stage, which allows him to bring an insider’s perspective to one of the NBA’s most memorable career starts,” according to a review by Justin Lowe of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The documentary, which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival, has a “mix of personal interviews -- including extensive on-camera discussions with Lin, combined with more informal scenes -- home-video footage from Lin’s childhood and clips from his high school and college careers, as well as game-play commentary from ESPN and other broadcasters.” Leong has “assembled a film that’s not just a stirring sports drama but also a classic immigrant-family success story, presented in an entirely new context.” With Leong “skillfully orchestrating the interview segments" and actor DANIEL DAE KIM "narrating a voice-over that occasionally tends toward an overly dramatic tone, the film is attractively packaged and superlatively edited by GREG LOUIE.” However, since the film’s title “emphasizes public reaction to Lin’s rise to stardom, some additional footage featuring fan reactions and social media trends would have been welcome” (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 1/21).

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL: In L.A., Steven Zeitchik wrote “Linsanity” premiered to a “rousing response, easily making it one of the most crowd-pleasing documentaries to play the festival this year.” First-time feature director Leong tells the story “in great detail, going back to Lin’s childhood in Palo Alto to the weeks that changed everything last February” when Lin played for the Knicks. Leong’s access to Lin “can lead to lack of distance -- there’s a bit of a hagiographic air to the tale, and Lin is given a little too much time to indulgently tout his faith.” But it also “gives us an intimate knowledge of a world we often only see at press-room distance.” The film “covers plenty of ground that will be familiar to hard-core sports fans, but it also unearths new nuggets” (L.A. TIMES, 1/21). In Salt Lake City, Scott Pierce wrote the film is a “skillful mix of interviews, home movies, NBA film and candid moments.” Leong “hits on the issues of racism and Lin’s religious faith, but he doesn’t hit you over the head with them.” This is the “feel-good movie of the festival,” and the fact that it is a “real story is the most unbelievable thing about ‘Linsanity’” (SLTRIB.com, 1/22). Lin "couldn't attend the premiere" at Sundance, but "now he'll appear on the very last day of the festival" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/23).
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