If you do not know what “Rez Ball” is, it stands for Reservation Basketball which is a slightly alternate version of basketball played in areas like New Mexico and Arizona by Native American teams.
Rez Ball is also played in various high schools across Nebraska, California, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming and is quite popular among the Native American communities. Allegedly the top coaches of the NBA have derived inspiration and influence from this traditional sport that is aggressive and requires agility, strength, passion and aggression.
Known for her 2014 film, Drunktown’s Finest, and the short Hoverboard, Sydney Freeland is set to direct the upcoming Netflix Original, which is a coming-of-age drama named Rez Ball. she has co-written the screenplay with Sterlin Harjo, based on Michael Powell’s nonfiction sports novel Canyon Dreams.
The cast of the film remains undecided, but the plot is reportedly going to focus on a talented Native American high school rez ball team called the Chuska Warriors, who have a lot of flaws and conflicts among themselves. They hope to win the state championship, but their aspirations are disrupted when they lose their ace players. They must regroup and cooperate in order to live their dream.
Freeland, who was herself raised in the Navajo reservation in New Mexico, is set to add a fresh perspective to the story about the underdog Navajo kids, their coach and their unwavering faith and determination that propels them forward to ace the championship.
The film is set to be produced by the maestro LeBron James, and fans are beyond excited for the release, which will likely not occur before the end of 2022 or early 2023.
Freeland gushed over working with Harjo, talking about how he brought in a lot of “insight, humour and heart to this story”. She further expressed her happiness at being able to collaborate with Netflix: “I am beyond excited to be working with Netflix, Wise Entertainment and The SpringHill Company to bring this story to life. Basketball on the Rez is like high school football in West Texas. It has a fanatical following that few sports can rival.”
Freeland is pretty aware of how ignorant and oblivious the rest of the world is to such a sport and discussed how she hopes to increase interest in the same.
“We want to tell a story that is authentic to the place and people, told from the inside out. We are so excited with the team we’ve assembled and can’t wait to bring this to the screen.”