This is a Game Ladies
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The Filming
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The Filming

How it all began
In 1998 while in Houston, Texas on a shoot for a Discovery film, Hilary Sio, Head of Story Development for PARTISAN PICTURES, found herself in a hotel room captivated by the NCAA women’s college basketball finals. Here were dozens of young women re-defining the game and changing the way the world perceives athletes and women. Although sports was not a subject matter PARTISAN had explored in the many films they had produced for broadcasters like National Geographic, Discovery and the History Channel, Sio knew that PARTISAN could tell a great story, always managed to snag great access and excelled at making characters come to life. This was a wonderful opportunity to tell the story of a diverse group of young women who “got game.”

The idea was to take viewers behind the scenes — up close and personal into a world a documentary had never gone before — a world that only PARTISAN could capture. Sio knew that with beautiful verite cinematography lensed by Emmy award-winner Peter Schnall, (the head of PARTISAN PICTURES) and a commitment to powerful, emotional storytelling, the film would be a slam dunk.

The next step: from dream to reality. Sio began researching colleges and universities in the New York metropolitan area that had strong women’s basketball programs. Rutgers University stood out. Not only was it close to New York City where PARTISAN PICTURES is located, making consistent filming a real possibility — but it had one of the most dynamic and successful coaches in basketball — C. Vivian Stringer. Here was a woman who had overcome tremendous adversity to reach the highest level in the game; a woman who personified the notion of a role model. Sio knew the Rutgers Scarlet Knights were the way to go…

Getting on the inside: Sio, Schnall and team were so committed to earning the trust and cooperation of the Rutgers team that they spent the first year hanging out, getting to know players and getting them used to the video camera. Friendships were made, stories were discovered and then, BOOM in 2000, the Scarlet Knights made the FINAL FOUR Championships. The stakes suddenly got much higher — and Partisan knew they really had a film on their hands. The team knew they had to return for the next season to follow the rise or fall of a championship team.

The film had begun to take shape. But what to shoot on? Schnall knew, from his years of experience as an award-winning cinematographer that the only way to capture the visual poetry of the game and the emotion from the players was to shoot 16 mm film. So with a little help from his friends at Kodak, Schnall was able to head out with a small crew and shoot film — the medium he knew the story deserved.

And that brings us to the beginning of the 2000/2001 season where the film this is a game ladies begins…





Peter Schnall talks about shooting this is a game ladies on film

Peter Schnall talks about shooting this is a game ladies on film
» watch the video

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