Know everything about Jeremy Lin’s upcoming biopic ‘Linsanity'

The Philippine Star

Film Specs:

Production Countrie(s): USA

Year: 2013

Language: English

Genre: Documentary

Running Time: 88 minutes


DIRECTED BY                                                   Evan Jackson Leong

PRODUCED BY                                                  Christopher C. Chen

                                                                                Allen Lu

                                                                               Brian Yang

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS                             Sam Kwok

                                                                                Patricia Sun

                                                                                James D. Stern


Jeremy Lin

Gie-Ming and Shirley Lin                parents

Josh Lin                                                the eldest of the Lin brothers

Joseph Lin                                           younger brother

Pablo Torre                                         Reporter

Peter Diepenbrock                             Palo Alto HS Varsity basketball coach

About Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin -- A native of Palo Alto, CA, Lin is the NBA’s first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent. Overlooked after his prep career ended, he is believed to be the only California Division II Player of the Year to not receive a Division I scholarship. However, Harvard University did take notice of Lin, and he helped pave the way for his Harvard team to become nationally-ranked for the first time in its history along with making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1946.

Undrafted in the 2010 NBA draft, he was signed by his home town Golden State Warriors for the 2010-11 season. After being cut by the Warriors, he was signed by the Houston Rockets, and ultimately cut on Christmas Day in 2011. He was then picked up by the Knicks, and after being inserted as a starter for the injury-laden team in February 2012. In the course of just a few weeks, Lin went from benchwarmer to international icon, by scoring a historic 136 points in his first five career starts. His magical run included scoring 38 points against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, 28 points on the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, and 27 points and a last-second game winning three-pointer against the Toronto Raptors. Heading into the 2012 off-season, Lin was a restricted free agent and was ultimately signed by the Houston Rockets.


Jeremy Lin came from a humble background to make an unbelievable run in the NBA. State high school champion, all-Ivy League at Harvard, undrafted by the NBA and unwanted there: his story started long before he landed on Broadway.

Short Synopsis:

In February 2012, the New York Knicks, mired in a disappointing season and out of desperation, looked to the end of their bench and found Jeremy Lin, an undrafted free agent from Harvard. On the verge of seeing his lifelong NBA dream vanish, Lin – at, or near what was believed to be his last chance as an NBA professional, underwent a now-legendary run, obliterating stereotypes along the way, and in the process birthed a global phenomenon known as "LINSANITY" Basketball -- and the world – was never the same.

Director Evan Jackson Leong chronicles Jeremy Lin's inspirational story long before that fateful month and at a time when Lin was still struggling to find a place in a league that didn't want him while never wavering on his faith and hope for an opportunity.

Long Synopsis:

In February 2012, the world of basketball unexpectedly went “Linsane.” Stuck in the mire of a disappointing season, the New York Knicks did what no other NBA team had thought about doing—they gave an undrafted, third-string point guard from Harvard named Jeremy Lin an opportunity to prove himself. He took full advantage, scoring more points in his first five NBA starts than any other player in the modern era, and created a legitimate public frenzy in the process. Prior to this now-legendary run, Lin had faced adversity in his career at every turn. Despite leading Palo Alto High to a shock California State prep title, he received no scholarship offers from any major university. Then despite a standout collegiate career at Harvard, he was not drafted by any NBA team.

Director Evan Jackson Leong began his chronicle of Lin long before that fateful February when the subject of his film became a full-blown media sensation. Gaining intimate access to Lin and his guardedly private family, Leong follows the future star as he struggled to find his place in the NBA. More than just a film for basketball addicts, LINSANITY serves as an insightful study of the way unlikely heroes are born and details the birth of a pop culture phenomenon in the modern technological age of instant, rapid-fire opinion.

About The Director:

Evan Jackson Leong, Director/Cinematographer

A sixth-generation Chinese American and native of San Francisco, Evan Jackson Leong will be participating in his third Sundance Film Festival however, LINSANITY marks his first entry as a director at the festival. He previously worked with director Justin Lin on Better Luck Tomorrow (Sundance 2002) and on the action blockbuster, The Fast and the Furious. He also served as co-producer of Lin's Finishing the Game (Sundance 2007). Leong directed two half-hour, nationally broadcast films: Him Mark Lai: The People's Historian and Forging a Feature: The Journey of Better Luck Tomorrow. He previously completed his first feature-length documentary, 1040: Christianity in the New Asia.

Director’s Selected Filmography:

Him Mark Lai: The People's Historian
Forging a Feature: The Journey of Better Luck Tomorrow
1040: Christianity in the New Asia

Filmmakers Notes:

Evan Leong, Director and Chris Chen, Producer

Evan: Back in early 2009, at the Griddle Cafe in Hollywood, California, Chris and I both sat down for our regular breakfast meeting. We’d been decade-long friends and our conversation ranged from personal to professional, and quickly turned to a relatively unknown Ivy League basketball player named Jeremy Lin.

Chris: Evan and I are both Bay Area kids and we’d heard a bit about Jeremy's story, a former state champ, and player of the year at Palo Alto High School yet, barely recruited and ending up at Harvard, a fine institution not exactly known for its athletics. I had a casual introduction to Jeremy through a mutual friend and being the hoop head I am, took interest in his story, not only as a basketball player, but as an Asian American and, interestingly enough, a devout Christian. Evan immediately shared mutual interest in this fascinating individual and began formulating a plan on how to tell his story. A mutual friend, Brian Yang, joined the team, and originally, our idea was to create a web series documenting different parts of his life, both on and off the court. Jeremy was a bit of a cult figure at that stage but, almost exclusively amongst Asian American youth. After several (dozen) failed attempts to convince Jeremy and his family to let cameras start rolling, we finally managed to get the green light during his rookie year with the hometown Golden State Warriors, where we were able to gain full access to an otherwise private person.

Evan: I chronicled the entire season of what truly was a rather uneventful rookie year and at that stage, I wasn’t sure where the story was going to lead. We decided to stick with it and after a tumultuous start to his second season as a pro where he was discarded by two teams in a matter of two weeks, it looked for all intents and purposes that Jeremy's dream of playing in the NBA was soon coming to an abrupt and undramatic end. By this time, Jeremy was the last man on the roster of the New York Knicks but, just barely so. Jeremy was being given what was widely believed to be his last opportunity, and that’s when February 2012 happened and the phenomenon dubbed “Linsanity” came into media legend.

Chris: Jeremy’s life would forever be changed and his profile upgraded to a bigger stage. With it, so too did our little web series.

We could barely grasp what was happening ourselves – it happened so rapidly -- or where the story would end up, but Evan kept the cameras rolling the entire time and what we ended up with was an intimate look at one of the most phenomenal stories in sports and pop culture in the last several years. We quickly shifted gears and went from a web series, to a feature length documentary. We had to. The story demanded it.

Brian Yang, producer

I was home in the Bay for a friend's wedding when I came upon a story in the San Jose Mercury News about Jeremy winning the Boys' Player of the Year after his senior season at Palo Alto. My interest was immediately piqued. As a Bay Area product who played high school hoops in the same area, I wondered where he would play next. When he wound up at Harvard, during his freshmen year, on a whim, I got permission from the Harvard athletic department before a visiting game in New York against Columbia to do an interview with Jeremy for a New York basketball blog that I occasionally wrote for. The next day, Jeremy called me at my office where I proceeded to record an hour long chat with him on a busted tape recorder I had from the 80s. I transcribed it, published it and for the next four years, attended each Columbia-Harvard game in NY with a small group who read about him in the blog.

By the time his senior season rolled around and he was somewhat on the NBA radar, I chatted with an old friend, Chris Chen one day about this Asian American who was making a name for himself on the court. Our chat quickly turned to an idea about documenting Jeremy for a web series. We put together a prospectus and I handed it to Jeremy after a Harvard-Yale game after which he looked at me like I had two heads.

"Just take a read and let us know what you think."

"Okay," and then off he went onto the team bus.

Eventually a year or so passed and each time Jeremy and his family indicated they weren't really ready for this idea of a camera following him around. He was just a college kid trying to graduate and, well, he also needed to focus on making a run at the NBA. This is what we had wanted to capture, but in the end, when they agreed to do it with us during his rookie season with Golden State, we knew we still had a very special story to tell.

I remember our first day shooting with Jeremy when he was in New York with his brothers. We took him to a little elementary school in the West Village and interviewed him and the siblings on some milk crates between pick-up games against guys who had no idea that Jeremy was an NBA player. That began a series of days with Jeremy that saw us go with him from Golden State to getting waived by Houston on Christmas 2011 to NYC to ... well, the rest is history.

This journey of Jeremy's has been remarkable. I'm grateful that the family eventually gave their blessing and I’m grateful that my partners and I are able to share what went into making “Linsanity.”

Allen Lu, producer

Having grown up with Jeremy, I intimately knew the Lin family’s love of basketball but, also their talent at picking up the game. Being so close to it, I also experienced all the challenges they faced. I knew the focus and determination brought into everything he had accomplished and the last thing anyone wanted was to break that focus. My aunt, Shirley Lin, was telling me about these filmmakers that kept bugging her and she was tired of turning them down. She asked me to talk with to evaluate the opportunity. That’s when I met Chris, Brian, and Evan and afterward, I agreed with them that Jeremy’s story was unique and it would be priceless to capture footage at this stage in his life before he started his NBA career. On the flip side, I also agreed with my aunt that we had no idea where the story would go, we were unsure if they story would have a happy ending, and we in NO way wanted to interfere and distract Jeremy from his basketball.

I discussed with Shirley and Jeremy the possibility of turning on the cameras and start filming, but if no meaningful story developed then we would not release anything and the Lin family would have some nice home video for their archives. With that risk mitigated we were able to proceed.

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