Awards Circuit: Poignant ‘Killer Bees’ Stings You Right in the Heart ★★★

By Mark Johnson – Nov 16, 2018

Located in the South Fork of Suffolk County, in the heart of the infamously rich triangle of towns that make up the Hamptons of New York (East Hampton, Southampton, and Sag Harbor), lies the hamlet of Bridgehampton – a community of less than 1,500 lower-income residents, with a high population of African-American families. The citizens of this town are often made to feel like outcasts in their part of the world, as multi-million dollar vacation homes are built up around them, squeezing the locals out of the land that they and their families have long dwelled upon. Bridgehampton was once a prominent source of potato farms in the middle part of the 20th century. But as the wealthy condo communities continue to grow, many of the jobs that once employed a large number of migrant workers have vanished. As exceeding providence begins to drown out extreme poverty, the townspeople turn to the one thing that unites them together the most – the high school basketball team.

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New York Times Critic’s Pick

“… [Killer Bees] uses the drama of basketball to tell a deeper story about race, class, and the excitement and heartache of young lives careening toward adulthood.”

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Film Journal International

“The new line about playing sports isn’t that it builds character—it reveals it.

And, sometimes, it reveals something about an entire community…”

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Los Angeles Times

“The “Killer Bees” of this modest, appealing sports documentary aren’t competitive apiarists but rather a high school basketball team in that New York enclave of moneyed celebrity, the Hamptons. And yet there’s one more layer of presumptiveness to penetrate: This isn’t a squad of rich kids — the mixed-race Bridgehampton High, and its mostly black basketball team, represent the year-round townsfolk who live, literally, on the other side of the tracks from the oft-publicized vacation-home wealth.”

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The Today Show: Craig Melvin interviews Shaquille O’Neal about Killer Bees.

Take a sneak peek at Shaquille O’Neal’s inspiring documentary ‘Killer Bees’

Shaq talks to Craig Melvin in The Hive. Take a sneak peek at Shaquille O’Neal’s inspiring documentary ‘Killer Bees’ by watching The Today Show interview.

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PBS – METROFOCUS

“[Killer Bees] tells the story of the Bridgehampton High School basketball team, winners on the basketball court, and a symbol of hope for its Hamptons community, where discrimination, gentrification and massive income inequality are a way of life.”

Jack Ford talks to former Bridgehampton Basketball Coach Carl Johnson and producer/directors Ben and Orson Cummings.

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Newsday

“‘Killer Bees’ documentary explores hoop dreams in the Hamptons.
The movie uses basketball as a way to explore how Bridgehampton’s African-American community is being squeezed out by new development and rising real-estate prices. ”

Elijah Jackson, 20, Coach Carl Johnson, Jamari Gant, 20, all from Bridgehampton, stand inside the gym at the Bridgehampton School in Bridgehampton on Friday, July 20, 2018.

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