Hoop Dreams Blu-ray announced for March 31, 2015

The Criterion Collection today announced that they will release the newly restored Hoop Dreams on Blu-ray disc on March 31st, 2015.

The Blu-ray is available now for pre-order.

Features on the Criterion Collection Hoop Dreams Blu-Ray will include:

  • New digital restoration, with 4.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Two audio commentaries: one by filmmakers Peter Gilbert, Steve James, and Frederick Marx, and one by the film’s subjects, Arthur Agee and William Gates
  • "Life After Hoop Dreams", a new documentary catching up with Agee, Gates, and their families
  • Additional scenes, never before released to the public
  • Collection of excerpts from Siskel & Ebert tracking the acclaim for Hoop Dreams
  • Original music video for the film’s theme song from 1994
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: Essays by author John Edgar Wideman and filmmaker and critic Robert Greene (Actress)

Despite its length (171 minutes, edited “tape-to-tape” from over 250 hours of footage) and unlikely commercial prospects, Hoop Dreams received high critical and popular acclaim upon release in 1994, became an Academy Award nominee for Best Film Editing (though it controversially was not nominated for Best Documentary) and was added to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in 2005.

The recently completed restoration represents the collaborative effort of Sundance Institute, UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Academy Film Archive and Kartemquin Films. It premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where director Steve James also premiered his new film, Life Itself, which is about one of Hoop Dreams’ greatest champions, Roger Ebert.

Hoop Dreams was shot primarily on analog Beta SP videotape, so the image was cropped and transferred for its commercial release. Working from multiple elements, including standard definition video masters and a 35mm film print, the project team created a new uncropped, high definition digital master that better represents the pictorial quality of the original videography. Digitally remastered at Modern VideoFilm with sound restoration by Audio Mechanics, this version allows future audiences to see the film as conceived by its filmmakers.

“This new restoration actually looks better than the film ever did,” said Steve James. “Even if you have seen Hoop Dreams many times on VHS, DVD, TV etc, you could argue that this is really the first time you will ever have seen it as it was truly intended.”