As is tradition with any august Canadian institution, the Toronto International Film Festival is set to include a whole whack of content from our home and native land. With the machinery of the festival gearing up this week, TIFF officially announced its Canadian slate of films, 26 features and other shorts totally over 50 submissions, to the festival this September.
The big news for basketball (and film) fans is that one such movie centres on former Raptor Vince Carter, the man responsible in part for the explosion of basketball popularity in this country.
The documentary, directed by Sean Menard, is called The Carter Effect.
Here’s the official blurb from TIFF (to save you the trouble of having to navigate their goofy-ass website):
In his latest documentary, Sean Menard gives viewers an unprecedented look at Vince Carter: the six-foot-six, eight-time NBA All-Star from Daytona Beach who made waves in the Canadian basketball scene when he was drafted by the Raptors in 1998.
As of right now that’s essentially all we actually know about the film itself, but it doesn’t take a genius to comprehend the exciting (and at times painful) history associated with Carter, the Raptors, and Canada. (We’ll set aside the semi-inaccuracy up there regarding Carter’s actual draft position.)
Back in 1998, the Raptors were about as big a joke in pro sports as you could find. The team was playing in a baseball stadium, they had just traded their best player in franchise history to that point (Damon Stoudamire) for bit parts, and they were coming off a season that was somehow worse than their hopeless inaugural run. (The numbers 16 and 66 will never be forgotten.) Into this mess stepped Carter, who became the league’s most visible and downright fun star within two seasons. By 2001, at the apex of his powers in Toronto, Carter was easily one of the five best players in the league, and inarguably the most exciting to watch. While hometown hero Steve Nash proved that Canadians could play basketball at the highest level, it was Carter who got people in Canada (and around the world) viscerally connected to the idea of basketball in Canada. The wave of young Canadian talent that has, and continues, to enter the NBA speaks to his awesome effect.
There was acrimony in Toronto afterwards of course, with Carter leaving in something of a huff and the Raptors crumbling apart. We booed him mercilessly upon his return, and watched him kill Toronto’s team at various other times — remember this? or this? or this whole fiasco? But now, with the years gone by, we can acknowledge that Carter’s role in Canada’s ongoing basketball renaissance has been significant. If The Carter Effect comes anywhere close to touching on that story, the rise and fall of Carter in Toronto, and the lasting legacy he created by torching the imaginations of an entire generation, it’ll be worth the cost of a TIFF ticket.
The Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 7th to 17th and ticket packages are already on sale. (I know this because I’ve already purchased mine. Giddy up.) The festival schedule will be released on August 22nd.
For more details on The Carter Effect keep an eye on Uninterrupted for announcements: