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'The Grizzlie Truth' explores abrupt move by Vancouver's NBA team to Memphis

Israel Cando | TFC News Vancouver

Posted at Dec 09 2022 08:31 PM

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Filipino Canadian filmmaker Kathleen Jayme was just six years old when she fell in love with basketball.

Her dad used to take her to the neighborhood basketball court since she was three, but it was Vancouver's hometown team that sealed her lifelong love for the sport.

"The NBA came in, came to town. My Lola, my dad would bring myself and my brother to many games and I instantly fell in love with the game of basketball, thanks to the Vancouver Grizzlies," Jayme shared.

The Vancouver Grizzlies started playing for the NBA in 1995. But luck wasn't on the side of the team and the Grizzlies found themselves at the bottom of the heap year after year. Not once did they make it to the playoffs.

The Grizzlies were eventually transferred to Memphis in the US, a development that surprised Jayme.

"When the Grizzlies left town, I thought, I didn't think it was gonna be forever. I thought, I was only 12 years old and the Grizzlies left, I didn't realize that when the NBA leaves a city, they don't come back. So that was really tough."

In 2016, she set out to uncover the truth behind the team's abrupt exit from Canada, travelling all over North America in search of the people behind the team and the basketball pros who played in Vancouver.

"I'm very grateful because many of them said yes, and were open to zoom calls. Thenwe flew down to film with a select few. So yeah, it was a blast and I got to hang out with my childhood heroes."

'The Grizzlie Truth' is not Jayme's first documentary about the team. She also made the critically acclaimed 'Finding Big Country' in 2018, with the mission of finding her favorite player and the Grizzlies first NBA draft pick, Bryant Reeves.

After basketball, Jayme's second love is filmmaking. She said it's in her blood as her mother is related to Dr. Ciriaco Santiago of the famous Santiago filmmaking clan.

"He owned one of the three major studios Premier Productions, then his son Cirio Santiago was a very, like, influential director and producer. His younger brother is my Lolo Danilo Santiago, he was a director."

Jayme said 'The Grizzlie Truth' pays tribute not just to Grizzlie fans in Vancouver but also to all Filipinos who are known the world over for their love of basketball.

The film will be shown in theatres across Canada starting Friday, December 9.

Jayme will be at the special pre-screening event at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema in Toronto on Saturday, with former NBA Rookie of the Year Steve Francis and former Raptor Jimmy King.