Halifax director Ben Proudfoot celebrates his first Oscar


Halifax director Ben Proudfoot celebrates his first Oscar for his documentary short, the Queen of basketball.

The 22-minute documentary is about Lusia (Lucy) Harris – the only woman to be drafted by the NBA and the first black woman inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Harris died three weeks before Proudfoot’s appointment was announced.

“It was incredibly gratifying and cathartic given everything that’s happened with Lucy’s passing over the past two months and her family in the audience, it was very emotional,” Proudfoot said. CBC Nova Scotia News at 6 anchor Amy Smith in an interview from Los Angeles on Monday.

“My mother, who had come from Halifax, was next to me. It was an amazing moment, and getting on stage and grabbing [the Oscar] was pretty cool at the end of a long campaign for Lucy Harris.”

Proudfoot said he and Harris’ family celebrated the win together after the awards show at the Vanity Fair party.

“It was surreal, it was a dreamlike experience,” Proudfoot said.

Lusia (Lucy) Harris is a basketball legend. Her story is told in Ben Proudfoot’s Oscar-winning short The Queen of Basketball. (Breakwater Studios)

The documentary features Harris telling her story in her own words.

“As filmmakers, it was our job to get out of her way and go find the photos and the footage and build a story around what she was saying,” Proudfoot said.

Steph Curry and Shaquille O’Neal served as executive producers for the documentary.

“For these two players, who were two of the most dominant male basketball players of all time, to step up and use their platform and outsized visibility to help bridge the gap for Lucy between her importance and the number of people who knew her, I think speaks to their integrity and the kind of people they are,” Proudfoot said.

Proudfoot was nominated for an Oscar last year for the documentary short, A concerto is a conversation.

He said he can’t wait to bring his Oscar to Nova Scotia, as well as Harris’ home state of Mississippi.

Filmmaker Ben Proudfoot accepts his Oscar at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday. Proudfoot’s film The Queen of Basketball won the Academy Award for Documentary Short. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)