Native American Basketball Legend And Activist Jaci McCormack’s Incredible Story Set For Narrative Feature ‘ Rise Above ’
Rise Above, a feature film about the challenges and triumph and how her love of basketball protected and elevated her through it all. The film will be directed by Dennis Lee (Fireflies in the Garden) and produced by his Atomic Features partner Daniel Ragussis (Imperium), and Tremblay. Basketball Hall of Fame players Lenny Wilkens and Gary Payton, Hollywood icon Danny Glover, and longtime civil rights activist Gus Newport will executive produce.
“Jaci’s story is an incredible example of Native empowerment, and I was drawn to her personal journey,” said Tremblay. “There is a real lack of Indigenous representation in film and television and Jaci’s story is exactly what is needed. We need to see members of our communities achieve greatness,” continued Tremblay.
Related Story'Reservation Dogs' Star Devery Jacobs Joins Expanded All Indigenous Writers Room For Season 2Raised on the Nez Perce reservation by her grandparents, McCormack, a basketball prodigy, had her life turned upside down when a tragic killing rocked her community. McCormack went on to lead the Illinois State Redbirds to an NCAA Tournament Berth, with a legendary game-winning turnaround jumper that was featured on ESPN’s “Play of the Day.” After college, McCormack founded headtopics.com
Rise Above, a non-profit organization that employs health and wellness strategies using sports, culture, and music to educate, empower, and mentor Native American youth.“My story demonstrates that while it isn’t easy to break barriers, it is possible,” said McCormack. “Representation matters when it comes to Native youth, because my story is their story. I feel extremely grateful to have found filmmakers like Erica, Dennis and Daniel that I can trust to tell this story; Erica understands the importance of indigenous representation in film, and she wholeheartedly believes in the social movement this project will support. Through this film and beyond, the work of
Rise Aboveto empower and inspire our future generations will continue.”Elizabeth A. Bell (Wind River), a co-founder of Gateway Entertainment, a non-profit dedicated to creating behind-the-camera career opportunities for underserved communities, will executive produce. Grammy award-winning Portugal. The Man, who also won the Legend Award at the Native American Music Awards and has a long history of activism in support of Indigenous communities, will serve as musical advisors and consultants. Most of the production will be shot in and around Indian country with financial support from various Tribes and a commitment to hiring Native cast and crew.Read more: Deadline Hollywood »
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