Sebastian Telfair's story is one of the past: In this June's NBA Draft, nary a high school ballplayer will be drafted, thanks to the League's new rule banning their entrance. This gives Through the Fire, a forthcoming documentary about Telfair, a historical relevance. Fire tells the story of the basketball phenom's arduous journey from the projects of Coney Island to becoming the Portland Trail Blazers' first-round pick, with no college in between.
Shot between April, 2003 and June, 2004, the movie is a visually thrilling, emotionally gripping look at the lives of Telfair and his family as they all prepared for the NBA. Almost as compelling as the movieâ€”which will combine a limited theatrical run with a March 14th DVD release and exposure on ESPN through the springâ€”are the people who made it happen. Producer and director Jonathan Hock's work has appeared on Streetball: The And 1 Mixtape Tour and Michael Jordan to the Max, often with his young protÃ©gÃ©, Alistair Christopher, in tow.
Christopher, known to most as "Gee-Lock,â€ is a 25-year-old film wizard who grew up in downtown Brooklyn's Farragut Projects. At age 15 he participated in a workshop Hock gave, and they've worked together ever since. No other project, however, has demanded as much of Christopher as Through the Fire, for which he is credited as Director of Photography. "For more than a year I was rolling with this kid, usually just me and my camera,â€ Christopher recalls. "I'd be with Sebastian day and nightâ€”trust me, he got tired of me a lot. When it [premieres on ESPN] it is going to be unreal. I've been on TV a lot, but not like thisâ€”there's gonna be 30 people in my house going crazy when the credits go up.â€