Halifax director Ben Proudfoot celebrates his first Academy Award
Proudfoot directed The Queen of Basketball, which won an Oscar for best documentary short subject
Halifax director Ben Proudfoot is celebrating his first Academy Award win for his short documentary, The Queen of Basketball.
The 22-minute documentary is about Lusia (Lucy) Harris — the only woman to be drafted by the NBA and the first Black woman inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Harris died three weeks before Proudfoot's nomination was announced.
"It was incredibly gratifying and cathartic given all that's happened with Lucy passing away in the last couple of months and her family being in the audience, it was very emotional," Proudfoot told CBC Nova Scotia News at 6 anchor Amy Smith in an interview from Los Angeles on Monday.
"My mom, who had come out from Halifax, was next to me. It was amazing moment, and to go up on stage and grab [the Oscar] was pretty sweet at the end of a long campaign for Lucy Harris."
Proudfoot said he and Harris's family celebrated the win together following the awards at the Vanity Fair party.
"It was surreal, it was a dreamlike experience," Proudfoot said.
The documentary features Harris telling her story in her own words.
"As filmmakers, it was our job to get out of her way and go find the photos and the footage and build a story around what she was saying," said Proudfoot.
Steph Curry and Shaquille O'Neal were executive producers on the documentary.
"For those two players, who were two of the most dominant male basketball players of all time, to step up and use their platform and their outsized visibility to help close the gap for Lucy between her significance and how many people knew about her, I think speaks to their integrity and speaks to what kind of people they are," said Proudfoot.
Proudfoot was nominated for an Academy Award last year the short documentary, A Concerto Is a Conversation.
He said he's looking forward to bringing his Oscar to visit Nova Scotia, as well as Harris's home state of Mississippi.
With files from Amy Smith