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Cortlandt Filmmaker to Show at Manhattan Film Fest

CORTLANDT, N.Y. - The tribulations of a would-be NBA player stuck in the "development league" is the subject of Cortlandt filmmaker Jeff Camarra's documentary.

The film, "Up and Down," was recently accepted to the Manhattan Film Festival, and will be among 142 others selections screened during the 10 day festival. "Up and Down" is scheduled for June 30, at 9 p.m., 695 Park Ave., Manhattan.

Camarra was mid-graduate school and a first-time filmmaker when he set off on a plane to Los Angeles with approval from the NBA and the Bakersfield Jam of the D-League pursuing a lead for his film.

Camarra said he's entered the first-person-style documentary into more than a dozen film festivals, and hopes the 30-minute underdog's tale will be accepted by more nationwide.

"It was the first one that we applied to, so I definitely hope we keep up a streak. But we wanted it to premier here in New York, we're all from here. It's just great to be able to show in front of our friends and family," said Camarra.

From nearly 200 hours of footage of Trey Johnson, one of the highest point-scorers in the NBA's D-League, the film was pared down to 30-minutes. Johnson was in the league for four years at the time the documentary was shot. The rigorous travel schedule and pay of roughly $25,000 per year was wearing on the player, as he watched teammates who'd served far less time in the D-league than himself get "called up" to the NBA.

A lifelong basketball fan, Camarra said he lived with Johnson for about eight days. The journey began less than two weeks after Camarra read about the NBA's D-League in a news article. Camarra followed the lead he'd found and financed the film through friends. He spent his winter vacation from Jacksonville University with the player.

Two cameramen, one editor and one "sound guy" refined the film under Camarra's direction.

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