My-Basket.it – Interview with Bobbito Garcia and Kevin Couliau, the two directors of Doin’ It In The Park

Do you know what Doin’ It In The Park is? For the people who still have no idea about what is it, Doin’ It In The Park is a new movie/documentary about the culture of pick-up basketball in New York City. In this movie the two directors, New Yorker Bobbito Garcia and Frenchman Kevin Couliau, jumped on their bicycles with just a camera and a basketball and started touring around 180 of 700 NYC playgrounds to narrate every angle of the amazing culture of pick-up basketball. The movie is made even more realistic thanks to the words of normal New Yorkers, NBA Champions and playground legends. The movie can be bought for only 9.99 dollars on buy.doinitinthepark.com. If you want to discover more about this amazing project, here there is a long interview with Bobbito Garcia and Kevin Couliau, the two directors, but before of that, let’s watch the official trailer.

First of all I wanted to ask you how did the idea of shooting this movie “on the road”? just with your bicycle and a camera?
Bobbito: Cycling is the quickest way around NYC and with our budget, or lack there of, it wasn’t just a choice but a necessity. Ha ha.
Kevin: Bicycle is the best way to explore New York City, it allows you to navigate in places that can be reached by subway or by car plus it gives you a great feeling of freedom, like skateboarding in a way. We didn’t want to get on the road with a huge staff and heavy equipment because our project was all about exploration and spontaneity. We used Canon’s DSLR cameras such as a 5D Mark II & 1D Mark IV with a few lenses, a tripod and audio equipment, everything fitted in our backpacks so we were able to shoot on the fly.

How a Puerto Rican living in New York and a Frenchman met each other one day and decide to make a movie together? Yours is a long time friendship or just something recent?
Bobbito: The shared love and respect for playing and documenting basketball brought Kevin and I together back in 2004. We’ve been friends, and teammates, ever since.
Kevin: As he was saying, Bobbito and I got in touch in early 2004 through BOUNCE magazine, in June of the same year I travelled to New York City for the first time and he showed me around, from Bed Stuy’s fireball tournament to my first game of 21 on morningside & 118th. Since then we have been collaborating on the magazine and various projects related to basketball. In 2009 I did a basketball clip called “Heart & Soul of New York City” which has accumulated more than a million views online. Bobbito loved it, and asked me to work on a documentary about the game of 21 with him. We strengthen the idea a bit and came up with this project on pick-up basketball.

Spectators can see both of you playing in a lot of scenes of the movie. Be honest, it was better to shoot the movie or to shoot basketballs in so many playground baskets? And congrats to Bobbito for winning the “playground series” (if you don’t know what I mean watch the movie).
Bobbito: Ha ha! We made it a rule that both of us had to play at every court we visited! Quite honestly, Kevin spent a lot of his time behind the camera while I’d be shooting jumpshots, All credit for the images in the film go to him! I did select all 180 courts we visited though, NYC is my hometown and I know it well. It was a team effort: he has the eyes and I know the history.
Kevin: Shooting Doin’ It In The Park was a combination of the things we like best in life – Basketball, photography and New York City. We enjoyed every step of the creation of this film and really feel lucky to have experienced something like this, spending 75 days on our bicycles, playing basketball in the best playgrounds of the Mecca and shoot our documentary.
Of course Bobbito won the 1 on 1 battle, I had to let him win. Ha ha. Yes, I wasn’t playing any defense, but I was also filming while Bobbito was already on the court warming up or playing with the kids ! Ha ha
Props to Bobbito, at 46 years old I wish I’ll be in his physical condition.

You come from different country, even different continents so different cultures also. How each one of you fall in love with pick-up basketball?
Bobbito: I’ve been playing ball since 1973 when I was seven years old. In New York, the culture is everywhere and unavoidable, I am blessed to share it with others through our film.
Kevin: I started playing outdoor around 10/11 years old on the playground of my hometown, Nantes in France. I learned basketball in club, and still plays organized basketball to this day but the playground helped develop my skills and creativity.

Kevin, is the French culture of street basketball so important and widespread as in NYC?
Kevin: France is one of the top countries when it comes to playground basketball culture, in the early 90’s outdoor basketball was super popular and generated some great players such as Moustapha Sonko and more recently Amara Sy who won the Nike Battlegrounds 1 on 1 competition and the Quai 54 Championship 4 times. However it’s nothing comparable to NYC, we don’t have 700 playgrounds and basketball is not in the veins of French population.

Talking about the beginning of the movie. I know that a lot of times there is a lot of betting around street basketball, some spectators bets and sometimes also players gets money from games. Do you know if this habit is common? Do you think this habit is ruining or it can ruin the true essence of the game?
Bobbito: Betting on pick-up games is uncommon, it does happen from time to time, though. In most instances it just heightens the intensity.
Kevin: It’s part of the culture, like any other sport. People bet on horse races or NBA games all the day, so why not playground basketball. And if some players can get paid out of this, that’s good because it will motivate them to get better and reach the pro-level.

There are a lot of interviews in the movie/documentary. How did you feel to interview so many legends? What meant to you to talk with NBA Champions, Hall of Famers and street legends?
Bobbito: I already knew everyone we interviewed and had great relationships with them. All agreed to be on camera without a second of doubt. I saw Kevin get giddy when we interviewed Kenny Anderson, ha ha, like he was a kid again watching him with the Nets.
Kevin: Ha ha, true.

This movie has an intense moral, we understand how pick-up basketball can bring people from different countries and cultures together, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, black or white. Do you think pick-up basketball really helped NYC to grow over the years and make it the city symbol of multiculturalism?
Bobbito: That’s a deep question. NYC has been multicultural for centuries, long before basketball was invented but in modern times, as it’s the #1 sport here, it definitely continues to introduce new generations to each other. Absolutely.
Kevin: New York City is a multicultural city for many reason, but the basketball court is one of these place where you really create social link. Whatever your origins or social background, playing pick-up basketball will allow you to meet people, make friends without judging anybody because you share this passion for the game.

In Doin’ It In The Park we could also see how pick-up basketball can help people staying out of troubles or even in jail. Do you think street basketball can really be effective for people in difficult situations? If yes, do you think cities and prisons all over the world should be incentivized and subsidized to build public courts?
Bobbito: Yes! Our goal is to motivate people to play pick-up for all the positive value that comes out of that and also to advocate organizations to provide resources for people to involve in free recreation. We have helped the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club raise money to renovate courts here in the US, and we’ll continue to do that as opportunities present.
Kevin: Yes, Basketball has a real impact on society. In a city such as New York the basketball court can act as your sanctuary. Some kids get troubles but some spend their time on the playground, playing pick-up basketball or pursuing their NBA dreams.
A lot of prisons have basketball courts, Rikers Island for example has two outdoor full courts and a gym, but it’s a prison so you don’t want to give the inmates a brand new & renovated playground – it would make them feel like home and not so much in Prison.
Obviously cities should take NYC as an example and build basketball courts accordingly, with such a successful integration in the urban landscape.

You have both been playing in thousands of playgrounds all over the world but is there a blacktop you like more than any other? Maybe for something in particular or maybe because you’re just attached to it.
Bobbito: The Goat is my home court and always will be. I grew up there, still play at age 46 and will until I can’t walk any more.
Kevin: My homecourt in Nantes, France. It’s called “Le Parc de Procé”, I just spent more than 10 years on this court working on my moves, chilling with my friends and winning some hard battles.

As we said for the playgrounds you’ve also seen thousands of ballers playing all over the world. Who do you think is the best player you’ve ever seen on concrete?
Bobbito: Impossible to answer! Personally, the most dominant pick-up player I have ever seen or played against would be Mario Elie. He eventually played in the NBA and won three titles between the Spurs and Rockets back in the ‘90s. Best jump shot would be Jack Ryan who is in our film. Best ball-handler would be Master Rob. Toughest would be Speedy Williams. Like I said, too difficult to answer.
Kevin: Just one name, Kevin Durant.

We learned nicknames are more than important for street basketball culture and I know that you Bobbito created some important ones in your careers like “Born Ready” for Lance Stephenson. Which is the best nickname you’ve ever heard? Maybe the funniest or the most brilliant one.
Bobbito: I shot an airball at Rucker one game, and announcer Duke Tango called me Danny Devito, the short funny looking actor from the ‘90s, instead of Bobbito. 1,000 people were laughing at me! That was embarrassing, ha ha.

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As we arrive at the end of this interview, I remember you to buy the movie/documentary Doin’ It In The Park for only 9.99 dollars. Trust me, it really worth it. If you want to do it or you just want more informations about the movie go to  buy.doinitinthepark.com and you’ll get all the answers your looking for.

Bobbito Garcia and Kevin Couliau

INFO Kevin Couliau, Age 31
NICKNAME Behind the Scenes a.k.a. Baguette a.k.a. Crossants
BEST QUALITY / YOUR DEFECT Patience / My defense
TOUGHEST OPPONENT Myself
YOUR UNFORGETTABLE GAME Playing pick-up in Rikers Island
FAVORITE MOVIE Doin’ It In The Park
FAVORITE SINGER Sixto Rodriguez
HOBBY Basketball, Photography, Cinematography
YOUR WISHES Buy our film now at www.doinitinthepark.com

 

INFO Bobbito Garcia, age 46
NICKNAME Kool Bob Love a.k.a. Boogie Bob a.k.a. Make It Happen
BEST QUALITY / YOUR DEFECT Hard word / Missing teeth
TOUGHEST OPPONENT The wind outside
YOUR UNFORGETTABLE GAME Every single one I’ve played outdoors
FAVORITE MOVIE Doin’ It In The Park, of course!
FAVORITE SINGER Stevie Wonder
HOBBY Basketball, nothing else counts
YOUR WISHES Buy our film now at www.doinitinthepark.com

I and all My-Basket.it crew really thank Bobbito and Kevin for this interview. A special thank goes also to Kanessa Tixe for her precious help.

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