NEW PROVIDENCE, Iowa — Six-on-six girls basketball ended in Iowa in 1993, but this week it’s being revived for the silver screen at gymnasiums in small town Iowa. The movie New Providence is focusing on the six-on-six game, set in the small Hardin County town.
“We filmed one game scene up in Hubbard, and today we're filming another game scene here in New Providence at the Roundhouse,” said Jack Smith, producer of New Providence. “The idea behind the film's story line is it’s 1993, it’s the last year six on six is being played and Iowa, and a young reporter from New York City from a big-time sports magazine is sent out here to cover that.”
Shooting started on some scenes a year ago, but they are back again shooting scenes of six-on-six basketball.
“We’ve got former players, former coaches, just former fans involved,” said Smith. “It’s been a really great statewide effort.”
Smith has recruited young college and high school players to play the roles on the court of six on six. He also enlisted the help of women who played the game.
Jody Nelson Doyle and Judy Forest were members of the undefeated 1979 Des Moines East six-on-six team, which took the state crown.
“We held onto that number one ranking the whole year. We were so proud of it,” said Forest. She added that the team was treated like celebrities in Des Moines after their win.
Now the two are working six on six. Doyle is playing the coach of the Fairbank girls basketball team. Forest is coaching the actors on how to play the game.
“Taking a trip down memory lane,” said Doyle. “It’s just brought back a whole flood of memories. Really excited to be a part of the film.”
“The biggest thing I take away from it is just how important six on six was to small towns,” said Smith. “People still have this incredible passion for the game.”
Smith said they would like to have a premiere ready to go for the Iowa Girls State Basketball Tournament. He also plans to travel the state to show the film in small-town Iowa theaters. The film New Providence will also be taken to several film festivals looking for a distributor.
If you would like to know more about the New Providence film, click here.
If you would like to watch the 1979 Des Moines East State Championship game called by Jim Zabel, and Frosty Mitchell, click here.