“Basketball is life,” says Joey, a sentiment that reverberates through Underneath the Noise. Among young people of north and east London, the sport interconnects with their music, fashion, friendships and lifestyles. It provides unfathomable opportunities for those in the city, to travel internationally, study and compete on a global stage.
But despite the fact basketball is the second most popular team sport in the UK, since July 2014 it has received no Olympic or national team government funding. This film by Jon E. Price confronts the lack of profile that British basketball deserves.
“The film is a protest piece, an appeal to bring awareness to the financial situation of the sport,” says Price. “It was always my intention to give a voice to the players, rather than coaches, journalists or sport ministers.”
Having grown up surrounded by the sports culture, Price has created a cinematic platform for those at the heart of the community, painting a portrait of each passionate player. “Joel and Chinedu’s confidence and commitment to the sport was noticeable from the beginning,” explains Price. “Daily training sessions, travelling up and down the country and when they have their days off, they’ll be playing pick-up ball at Turnpike Lane.”
Without funding, raw British talent lacks the nurturing and infrastructure that European and USA teams provide elsewhere.
“A big part of this film was always to celebrate the raw talent and that underneath the politics, underneath the decision-making, these guys are still dedicated to the sport,” says Price. London-based poet James Massiah relates the emotions of being on the basketball court in a vivid poem. Price explains: “Forgetting the past, and disregarding the future, just playing, but sooner or later factors can dictate the situation.”