San Quentin–filmed Q Ball was nominated for a Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Long Sports Documentary, making it the first Sports Emmy-nominated prison documentary film in California’s prison history. “They didn’t see our clothes or our incarceration,” said San Quentin resident Anthony Ammons, who was one of the stars in the film. Speaking of those who nominated the film, Ammon added, “They saw a good story and good human beings— they saw that we made some bad decisions, but we are not the bad decisions we made.”
There were a number of people who worked on the f ilm and were very instrumental in its creation. San Quentin News captured some of the guys’ reactions in a Q&A. Rafael Cuevas, Aaron “Showtime” Taylor and Anthony Ammons were some of the stars featured in the film and who were stoked about the nomination.
Q: How does it feel to be in a documentary that was nominated for an Emmy?
A: (Anthony Ammons) I’m amazed of what God can do in here that allows people to see us: I’m in awe. God allowed light to shine in a dark situation that maybe kids can see and don’t make the same decisions I did. I’m thankful that I can be in a place of vulnerability.
Q: What do you want people to take from the film, both inside and out?
A: (Rafael Cuevas) I would prefer if the spotlight was on the incredible gesture of love that our volunteers show when they commit to participating in the programs. These men and women sacrifice so much to bring us hope, support, and give a sense of community. …Everybody should be impacted.
Q: Do you think more stories like this need to be told?
A: (Cuevas) This is a story that anybody can be a part of if they have enough love and tolerance in their heart.
The self-proclaimed “Voice of SQ Sports,” Aaron “Showtime” Taylor, has since paroled and is now living in the free world. Before he left, he was asked:
Q: How does it feel to be a part of a Sports Emmy-nominated film and to win the Seattle International Film Festival?
A: (Aaron “Showtime” Taylor) Being the voice of sports at The Q was something I took great pride in. Being nominated is hopefully the beginning for me in having a great career in broadcasting.
Q: What did you get from the experience with Q Ball?
A: (Showtime) Valuable experience and exposure. I got to see the other guys open themselves up to a degree and be vulnerable in ways that I’m not used to seeing them be.
Q: Anything else you want to say?
A: (Showtime) Yeah, I told (producers) Mike (Tolajian), Jordan (deBree), and Rebekah (Fergusson) that we’d be nominated because our film was real and raw. I was right about that part.
Q: Anything you want to add?
A: (Cuevas) Yeah, I want to give a shot to the production team, the ones who really deserve the accolades. Mike, Jordan, and Rebekah, for her seeing a story in our program; Kevin Durant for believing in us; Cutty and Maserati E, who were the only incarcerated representing on the film; and all the viewers. I hope they see our humanity and our struggle on our road towards redemption.
In addition to Q Ball’s Sports Emmy nomination for Long Sports Documentary, its composer Joel Goodman and music production manager Andrew Dewitt were nominated for Outstanding Music Direction/Composition/ Lyrics. Goodman has worked on Independent Lens, American Experience Films, ESPN’s 30 for 30, Playing for the Mob, Bad Boys and Once Brothers. Andrew DeWitt worked on several docs including Obit: Life on Deadline and American Winter.
The Seattle International Film Festival’s jury awarded its Grand Jury Prize to Q Ball “for its refreshing positivity and skillful portrayal of vivid characters and honest camaraderie.”