The 1998 David Zucker film “BASEketball,” about the invention of a sport, has created a long-standing fan base and comedic example in the genre itself.
The film stars Trey Parker and Matt Stone, two young men who grow up to become sport legends by inventing a game that combines baseball and basketball.
The film takes a sport-fueled approach to the comedic world and has been a box office hit. It’s now being shown as a featured special screening film in the 2018 Oxford Film Festival for its 20th anniversary.
Mark Bell, the coordinator of the “BASEketball” game and narrative feature/Mississippi features head programmer for the festival, said, “This year, after various conversations about how important it is for a film festival not to become too serious, with itself or programming, we made it a point to really look at comedies that have had a major impact on our lives,” which led to the decision to show this film.
This year, the film festival will focus on many major issues, and this film will add comedic relief and a reminder of laughter. While the movie was a box office hit, the imaginary sport never became a hit sensation in reality.
The festival will be holding a “BASEketball” tournament, with the director of the film, David Zucker, present. Many people have never played the game, and now they will be able to experience the sport with direct rules from the movie and with the director to guide the games to play as close to the real movie as possible.
“I know a lot of people who have seen ‘BASEketball’ and love it but not may have actually played it,” Bell said. Now will be fans’ chance.
The tournament and the screening of this movie are meant to celebrate the anniversary of the film and fans of this film who have remained loyal after two decades. The tournament held open registrations for fans of the film to learn the game for themselves.
Four teams will be competing, with two teams consisting of festival filmmakers and two teams of festival staff and fans. The championship will be bracketed to ensure the final round be played between the one winning team of festival filmmakers and one winning team of of festival staff and fans. This will determine the winner of these competitors and the coveted title of “BASEketball” champ.
Playing the game in real life will not only give an active translation of film to reality but also provide a break for connections from the film producers to their audiences in an open environment. The tournament will occur behind the Malco theater directly after the movie screening Saturday. The games are free and open for the public to view.
“Come cheer us on, mock us, have fun with it,” Bell said.
Oxford Film Festival executive director Melanie Addington said although she has never played the sport, she is excited to watch the tournament.