Buford girls make film debut

BUFORD -- Andraya Carter lived it, but watching it again sounds good to her.

The Buford point guard, who helped lead the Wolves to a third straight Class AA girls basketball title a season ago will spend this Saturday night reliving that season with her teammates at a movie premiere at the Buford Fine Arts Center at 7 p.m. The event is open to the public and tickets cost $10 with a portion of the proceeds funding Buford's trip to this year's Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix.

The documentary, "The Season -- Buford High School," follows the team around from its preseason practices through its third straight state championship run.

Cameras weren't around everyday, but were around for the playoff run, the team's annual preseason bonfire and followed certain players home to showcase life outside of basketball.

"At first it was kind of different because they were kind of everywhere," Carter said. "You were wondering, 'Woah, there's a video camera.' But it was really cool. They were really nice and really respectful and everything like that."

The executive producer, Kelly Kline, runs a website, insideswomensbasketball.com, that focuses on every level of women in the sport and chose Buford from a selection of Atlanta-area schools. Kline decided on Atlanta because she lives in the area, but said she found plenty of options.

"There are tons of great programs in this country," Kline said. "I think it turned out to be a really great choice."

Even after Kline selected Buford, she had to sell the idea to the team and head coach Gene Durden, who took some convincing.

"I was real cautious about it. I really didn't know because I didn't know how they were going to portray us, to show us," Durden said. "But we got to know Kelly really well and I thought she did a really good job of portraying what our program is really about. It's not about winning state championships but it's about our kids and what they are made of and what kind of young ladies they are."

Here's how she sold him.

"What we wanted to do was go deeper with a team or a program and showcase what women's basketball is about," Kline said. "What we tried to do was mix it with really great girls basketball and mix it with some good story lines."

The six-part series is available online at Kline's website, with the exception of the final episode, the finale of the full documentary. No one will see it until Saturday.

But all the team members, Durden and many others watched the first five.

"I think they did a really great job," Carter said. "(People) all really like it. A bunch of people talk about it and it's actually been seen worldwide, which I think is really cool."

Kline said people email her from as far as Sweden about the film, surprising her and Carter.

"I didn't know it would get so big," Carter said.

Durden gave Kline "carte blanche" access to his team's practices, locker room and allowed interview time. In the first episode, cameras shoot the locker room before the season's first practice, players working out, the team bonfire and follow a player outside of school.

"What I told Kelly was before we ever made a decision was, 'I am who I am and I am not going to change. However you want to portray me is fine,'" Durden said. "And I told the kids, 'This right here is going to be us, we don't need to change.' I think after a while they got used to it."

Camera followed players to other activities like chorus shows and to their homes. They were there for the regular season loss to rival GAC and back for the championship win over the same Spartans.

"I think they did an excellent job of portraying what we wanted to portray," Durden said. "They went through the good times, but they also went through the tough times of a tough season. She captured the ups and the downs."

But that final up, makes seeing the film that much better.

"If we would have lost, I don't know if I would watch it as much," Carter said.