9-Man is not just an intense sports film, but also one about historic and cultural preservation of a rich tradition resulting from racism, with President Chester Arthur having signed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882. 9-Man will also screen in: Boston, Hawaii, San Diego, Austin, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Washington, DC. Click here for dates and times, and Facebook invites!
9-MAN is a story about a streetball battle in the heart of Chinatown.
Since the 1930’s, young Chinese men have played nine-man, a gritty, competitive streetball game, in the alleys and parking lots of Chinatown. When the community was a Bachelor Society (men outnumbered women 4-to-1) at a time when anti-Chinese sentiment and laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act forced Chinese restaurant workers and laundrymen to socialize exclusively amongst themselves, nine-man offered both escape and fraternity for men who were separated from their families in China and facing extreme discrimination and distrust. Today, some 80 years later, nine-man is a lasting connection to Chinatown for a community of men who know a different, more integrated America and it’s a game that has grown exponentially in athleticism. But it’s still played in isolation. Nine-man punctuates each summer with a vibrant, aggressive, exhausting bragging-rights tournament that unites thousands of Chinese-Americans and maintains traditional rules and customs.
9-MAN introduces the history of the game and a diverse cast of modern-day characters—from 6'7" Olympian Kevin Wong to a 91-year-old pioneer—combining direct cinema and interviews with never before seen archival footage and photos sourced directly from the community. Pivoting between oil-spotted Chinatown parking lots and jellyfish-filled banquet scenes, the film captures the spirit of nine-man as players not only battle for a championship but fight to preserve a sport that holds so much history.