'Linsanity' comes to Houston on Oct. 4, but its first premiere before hitting different cities globally takes place Thursday in Los Angeles. It marks a milestone in a long journey for the documentary.
"Excited is probably an understatement," said Brian Yang, one of the producers of the film. "Getting to introduce it to the the world - it means everything. Obviously, people have been getting sneak peeks here and there, but this is it. This is gametime and we're psyched. Obviously, I couldn't be happier and it's been a real labor of love.
"Back in 2010, if you told me this was going to happen, I'd probably not only laugh at you, but I'd slap you in the face and say, 'Haha, good one!'" Yang said while laughing. "It just wasn't even a pipe dream at that time, so this is amazing and excited is just a tenth of how this feels."
Actually, when the whole process started, when Jeremy Lin was first convinced by filmmakers to allow them to help tell his story, the original vision was to produce a series of web episodes, Yang said. No one had any way of knowing Lin would explode upon the world as he did in February and March of 2012 with the Knicks, that Linsanity would be born.
"We very quickly realized we had to get ourselves together, realized we had an amazing opportunity," Yang said. "We had a very big responsibility suddenly to tell the story, tell it right, and shifted gears into a full-length feature documentary, ditched the webisode idea, and did everything we could.
"We had no idea it was going to work out this way, but now that it did, it's amazing to look back and hear some of (Jeremy's) own thoughts during private moments on camera," Yang added. "So we're very lucky he let us do that. And I also have to give credit to our co-producer, Chris Chen, who had some great foresight to do some special things: getting cameras on Jeremy while he was in the D-League, stuff like that which was, at the time, you're like, 'Why would you want to do that?' and now it's like, 'Wow. What an amazing moment in the movie.'"
Yang also gave major credit to the film's director, Evan Jackson Leong. He said Leong did a good job of making sure the story was told right and that he hopes viewers will leave the film feeling motivated.
"I hope any background, anywhere you come from, whatever you do, you walk away from this feeling inspired and ready to go out there and tackle whatever you want to do in life. So don't let anyone tell you no."
Yang said several key figures from Linsanity are expected to be at the LA premiere: Jeremy Lin, his family, Chandler Parsons, and Mike D'Antoni, among others.
"It's really the ultimate underdog story," Yang said. "I think what our hope is is that this isn't just a basketball film. It's not just something that appeals to sports fans. I mean, yes, that's there, that's one of the audiences we definitely want to have enjoy this. But the people who are outside of the zone, any demographic, anywhere on Earth, whatever you do, whatever you enjoy, by watching the film, we hope they can deepen their relationship and their understanding of what made Jeremy who he is and how relatable the story really is to themselves, to their own journey.
"Someone who's just struggling to find his footing in society. Not looking like the obvious choice. Always being told no. In your career, whatever journey you go down, just kind of being the person who goes against the grain."
The film documents Lin's unconventional path from Palo Alto to his historic NBA breakout with the Knicks in 2012, a time period that will be forever known as Linsanity. The point guard will be entering his second season with the Rockets. He averaged 13.4 points last year in his first year with the club, showing steady improvement throughout to where he averaged 17.3 points and 6.9 assists in April and helped lead the Rockets to a playoff berth.
'Linsanity' has been shown at the Sundance Film Festival as well as at South by Southwest, among others, but is being distributed nationwide to 11 different American cities, including Houston, on Oct. 4. It is being released in Taiwan on Oct. 11. Yang says it's cool to see the excitement building in all these different cities around the globe.
"We've been getting an amazing response from all the different cities we're at," Yang said. "And this is a testament to just a lot of people, a lot of hard work. People on our team, people who are reaching out for us as both consultants and volunteers and friends. Just talking up a storm and sending out the social media blitz. Whether it be people in the Asian community, the church community, the Harvard Alumni Network, basketball leagues around the country, all of these affinity groups around the country."
'Linsanity' tickets for Houston theatres (this'll be shown at the AMC theatre on Dunvale as well as the Sundance Cinemas on Texas Ave.) can be purchased online. Also, a mixer promoting the movie has been organized by NAAAP Houston, set for Sept. 26 at Soma Sushi from 7-9pm.