GILBERT, Iowa -- The movie New Providence, focusing on the last year of girls’ six on six basketball, has concluded shooting at various Iowa locations. It is being edited in the hopes of having a premiere during the Girls State Basketball Tournament in Des Moines in March.
The movie director hired a number of professional actors to tell the story, and the female lead, who had acted in just one play.
Ava Hawthorne, a 16-year-old sophomore point guard on the Gilbert High School team landed the role. She’d learned about six on six during a fun practice with her coach Mike Frisk. She also had her mom, grandma, and great grandma play the six-girl game.
“Last year at Christmas time, we actually played six on six in practice a year ago. The kids just loved it. We showed little video first,” said Frisk.
“They put out a casting call, 'hey we’re looking for Iowa high school basketball girls to come on down and try out,'” said Hawthorne. "My grandma was like, 'come on guys it will be fun, let’s do it.'”
People could try out as players, coaches and members of the audience watching the six on six game.
“I’m in a room with a bunch of Iowa high school girls and the director says does anybody want to try out for the main part?” said Hawthorne. “I’m like, I raised my hand I got nothing to lose.”
She was emailed the script for the lead female role of Laney, the star of the New Providence Basketball six on six girls basketball team. She had to read lines of Laney in the camera, and send the video to the director. She was then asked to go back and meet with the director again.
“The director offered me the part. He said, 'Ava all you have to do is memorize the lines,'” said Hawthorne. “'You already are Laney. Your character matches your personality. All you have to do is memorize lines.' And I thought that was pretty cool.”
She said all the actors were professional, so she needed to step up her game to play Laney, the local basketball star, for the filming.
Basketball runs in Ava’s blood.
“My great grandmother, my grandma, my mom all played in six on six and I just felt like I was not only representing them in my role, but I was also representing everybody else who played six on six and all the legends that have played six on six,” said Hawthorne.
The producer, Jack Smith, hopes to have the film ready for a premiere during the girls' state basketball tournament in March. Ava also has a plan for that week, to have the Gilbert Tigers girls basketball team at the state tournament. They narrowly missed getting in last year.
Ava’s family got involved in the movie as fans in the stands.
“People come up and talk to Ava or Laney and tell them their story with six on six basketball, who they played for; did they make it to state,” said Amy Hawthorne, Ava’s mom. “Everybody’s kind of got a story about six on six basketball in the state of Iowa if you’ve been here long enough, so it’s fun to hear those stories.”
For more about New Providence the Movie, check their website.