SLAM Film Festival set

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Indianapolis-based Heartland Film is giving an assist to NBA All-Star weekend.

RTG Features, the sister studio to basketball media leader SLAM, announced it has partnered with Heartland Film to launch the first SLAM Film Festival.

The 14-film festival, which is set for Feb.16-18 at Living Room Theaters in Indianapolis, will be a mix of world premiere titles, recent festival circuit favorites and iconic films. This will be the first-ever film festival exclusively focused on basketball, launched in celebration of SLAM magazine’s 30th anniversary in 2024. RTG stands for Respect the Game, which was SLAM’s tagline.

“The plan is to partner with different film festivals every year over All-Star weekend,” said Aron Phillips, artistic director of the festival and CEO of RTG Features. “This has been a brainchild of mine for a decade.”

There will be post-screening question-and-answer sessions along with panel discussions with filmmakers, player-owned production companies and network executives in the sports film and documentary field.

“We want to use All-Star weekend where the whole world comes together to take over one of these NBA cities,” Phillips said. “We couldn’t think of a better place with SLAM’s 30th to kick off the festival.”

The focus is on three films, which also are having their 30th anniversaries: “Hoop Dreams,” “Above the Rim” and “Blue Chips.”

Phillips said since “Blue Chips” was filmed in Indiana, it will be a great one to feature.

Los Angeles Clippers player Paul George, a former Indiana Pacer, will be there to discuss “Amongst the Trees.” George is serving as executive producer of the documentary, which is the first project from George’s production company.

The 2017 documentary, “Perfect in ’76,” is about Indiana University’s unbeaten basketball season under coach Bob Knight.

Phillips said the IU basketball team is planning to attend a Feb. 17 screening.

The 2010 documentary, “Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks,” focuses on the Pacers star’s memorable matchups against the Knicks.

For a schedule, visit heartlandfilm.org.

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