TalkBasket.net discussed with Cameron McCasland, the creator of the documentary about the life of Dr. John Kline.
Mr McCasland talked about the premiere of the film on Thursday (24/01), the challenging aspects of writing and directing such a film and more.
Here is what the Emmy-nominated writer, director and film producer said in an exclusive interview with TalkBasket.net:
On the difficulties and the challenging aspects of creating this documentary: “I think with any documentary you have to follow where the story goes. I was fortunate that I had a team of other producers at Addiction Campuses in Erin Dineen and Josh Ickes who really gave me freedom to go after this story. I thing the biggest challenge was trying to cram 86 years of life into 90 minutes worth of movie.
Johnny Kline was a bigger than life kind of guy. I felt a tremendous responsibility to get it right, and paint an honest portrait of him. Everything from his basketball career to his struggles with addiction. To his help in the recovery community that came afterwards. We had to find the balance in all of that.”
On whether he was more motivated, as the film referred to the life of a future Hall of Famer: “I actually had a bit of a breakdown when I got the news about the Naismith Hall of Fame announcement for Johnny. You have to understand that for the past year I have devoted a great deal of my life to this story, and knowing that the movie could have some impact on introducing him to a new generation made me happy.
I think the guys who played on the Globetrotters and other barn storming teams during that era are a bit lost to history. There aren’t youtube highlight reels like you can watch for Jordan or LeBron. For that matter, there aren’t even a ton of photos. This documentary helps tell part of the history of basketball, and Dr. Kline had a career that’s worth taking another look at for fans and the Hall of Fame alike.”
On people’s excitement about the premiere of the film, as all tickets have already been sold out: “It feels great to know we already have a packed house for this Thursday night. I think it shows a lot of promise for the future of the film.
Nashville Tennessee where I call home has been very kind to me as a film maker. We’re glad we get to show it off here first before taking it out on the road for everyone else to see.”
On whether he is planning to create similar film regarding other members of the Harlem Globetrotters: “This past year has been a great education for me when it comes to the way basketball has changed over the years.
I adore the Harlem Globetrotters, and am constantly impressed with the ongoing work they do in the community. I have had the good fortune to meet and correspond with a lot of those guys and girls over the past year. They pull off a certain kind of magic you don’t get in any other basketball game.
I’d love to re-visit the Globetrotters at some point, but I think it will be hard to top my adoration for Dr. John Kline. He forever and always will be my favorite member of the Harlem Globetrotters.”
*Cameron McCasland is an Emmy-nominated writer, director, and film producer. His narrative film, music video, and documentary work have been featured in Rolling Stone, “American Idol”, “Today”, and “Good Morning America.”
In addition to film festival screenings all over the globe, he has received over seventy film and television industry accolades. The Texas-born filmmaker lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and two daughters.
**Jumpin’ Johnny follows the life of Harlem Globetrotters legend Jumpin’ Johnny Kline, who barnstormed in the tumultuous Civil Rights era of the 1950s.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Dr. Kline was inducted into the African American Hall of Fame, Wayne State University’s Sports Hall of Fame, the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and the Harlem Globetrotters’ Legends Circle for his work with substance misuse prevention, education, patient rights, and health and wellness promotions.
In December, Kline was named among 150 finalists for the 2019 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame who will be announced during NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte in February.