THE PLAYAZ COURT

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Kodak's "In Camera" Magazine featured an article about The Playaz Court AKA "The Court."  Greg Morgan and cinematographer Jessica Gallant were interviewed about the style and how it was shot.  Check it out.

Greg won the Aurora Award in the Best Low Budget Feature catagory for The Playaz Court!!

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STORY SYNOPSIS

The Court is the story of two brothers, Juwan, 25 and a graduate of law school, and Reggie, 18, and the different ways they view their lives and importance within the city of Inglewood, California.

The story takes place in a basketball gym on the hottest day of the summer. There is a bet made on a game between Rick, the sole white player in the gym, and T-Bone, the cousin of Juwan and Reggie. Rick’s team loses -- he leaves. T-Bone goes to collect the money — it’s not there. T-Bone goes after Rick and a minute later there’s a gunshot. T-Bone is dead. Rick is gone. Reggie goes after him, finds him, shoots him in the leg and drags him back into the gym. Why? To make Juwan kill Rick; to get Juwan back to street level so they can relate again. Everyone’s screaming for blood. Juwan can’t do it — his conscience won’t let him do it. He insists on due process and they give it to him: they put Rick on trial — in their court.

STORY OUTLINE

In it’s simplest form, The Court could be seen as White Men Can’t Jump meets The Ox-Bow Incident. It is the story of two brothers, Juwan and Reggie Thompson, and the different ways they view their lives and importance within the city of Inglewood.

Juwan, 25 years old, went away to college on a basketball scholarship several years ago. Although he suffered a knee injury, he got his degree and went on to law school. He returned to Inglewood to marry his high school sweetheart, have a daughter and pass the California BAR exam. He definitely wants out of Inglewood for himself and his family. They are trapped there financially for now. Juwan has failed the BAR once.

Reggie, 18, is a street hustler and gang member. He feels abandoned by Juwan and thinks he’s an "Uncle Tom." He has fallen into the street life under the misguidance of their cousin, Terrence "T-Bone" Thompson, also 25. On the outside Reggie’s content to be a hustler. On the inside, he’s dying for the attention of Juwan as a strong positive role model in his life.

The story opens with Juwan and his best friend Lorenzo, a wannabe standup comic, going to play basketball at the local gym. They meet with T-Bone and Reggie along the way. At the gym they run into a few of the "regulars" and Rick, 25, white "All American" and seemingly very out of place. Reggie and T-Bone are the only ones who outwardly object to Rick’s presence, but Rick has heard it all before and just continues to play.

After getting into several verbal battles, Rick and T-Bone put their money where their mouth is and bet on a game of four-on-four. Rick’s team loses the game and Rick storms out. When T-Bone goes to collect though, Rick’s money is gone. T-Bone goes after Rick while the others continue to play. After looking around fruitlessly, T-Bone searches the bathroom. After searching all of the stalls, he turns to leave — but can’t as he is met with a gun. He is shot but dies before he can tell who did it.

Everyone in the gym hears the shot. They search but find no one and conclude it was some young punk having fun. Juwan has a feeling something is still wrong. He continues to look and finds T-Bone dead. Reggie is enraged and demands justice. Instead of calling 911 as he said he would, he goes to find Rick, who he’s sure did it. Rick is outside trying to find a phone that works as his car is up on blocks. Reggie captures Rick and instead of shooting him, he brings him back into the gym for Juwan to shoot — a test of getting back at his brother. Juwan, furious in the moment, wants to shoot Rick, but at the last second, prevails with a cooler head. He knows it’s not right. He tells them they can’t just shoot him — not without a trial.

So that’s what they give him: a trial in their Court.

Through numerous arguments and a final key alibi, it becomes clear to everyone that Rick is innocent. Everyone, that is, except Reggie who demands vengeance for T-Bone. Rick keeps talking about the guy he suspects actually did the shooting, an enormous man he previously saw walking in the hallways of the gym. Reggie’s sense of loss is deepened by the fact that he feels responsible for T-Bone’s death. He knows the enormous man Rick is talking about and had a "riff" with him.

Reggie goes to shoot Rick but Juwan steps between them, telling Reggie if he’s going to shoot Rick he’s going to have to take him out first. Reggie finally gives up and Rick is free. By now, Rick is out of his mind with fear because of all he’s been through. He grabs a gun and holds it wildly, demanding that no one follow him out. As he’s going to leave, the police finally show up and see him with a gun. They shoot immediately, killing him. Reggie is left with the image of a smoking gun and a dead body...an innocent dead body and he is responsible. Juwan takes him under his arm.

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Greg discusses the script with actor/writer Bob Cochrane.

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