Wheelchair basketball team raises funds for documentary

Wheelchair basketball team raises funds for documentary

Daniel Koenig

The University of Alabama’s wheelchair basketball program caught the eye of filmmaker Daniel Koenig, who is now filming a documentary about the program. Photo Courtesy of Daniel Koenig

Terrin Waack

Originally based out of Phoenix, Koenig has been staying in Tuscaloosa in order to fully follow and capture what it is like being a student-athlete. Specifically with Alabama Adapted Athletics, Koenig said he saw and still sees a good, true story to be told here.

“I find a lot of times you can tell somebody something, but when they see it for themselves, that’s when it hits them what something actually is,” Koenig said.

Koenig has worked with both the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams since the beginning of their seasons in October and will continue to work with them through March and their Collegiate National Tournament.

“A documentary isn’t always happy,” Koenig said. “In order to have a good story, you can’t just show the wins. You have to show the losses as well.”

Along with attending practices and games, Koenig does short highlights on players, which include their backstory and the impact wheelchair basketball has had on their life, in order to give a better idea of who they are.

“The students are excited about it,” Director of Alabama Adapted Athletics Brent Hardin said. “They know that one of our biggest challenges is awareness.”

With Koenig’s presence in every aspect of their season, he has also been giving game and practice footage to the coaches. Student-athlete Jannik Blair said the documentary is good for them as athletes and for the sport.

“I’m sure the documentary will get circulated widely through disability activists and disabled sports, so that will help the program as a whole and will strengthen the sport,” Blair said.

As of Dec. 28, Koenig’s project was fully funded and now all he has to worry about is filming the documentary itself. The goal is to have it finished by the end of 2015.