Kickstart This: Sports Doc '9-Man' About Exclusive NYC Streetball

November 30, 2012

9-Man Kickstart This

Welcome back to another edition of Kickstart This, FirstShowing's weekly column dedicated to spreading the word about indie projects around the world that need your help to become a reality. This week, check out 9-Man, a documentary that reveals an exclusive sport that's been played by Chinese-Americans and Chinese-Canadians in back alleys of New York's Chinatown since the 1930s. It explores the game's origins, the culture surrounding it, and the extreme competition in a sport that's remained secret for decades. Take a look, sound off in the comments, and don't forget to toss these filmmakers a few bucks if you can. Check it!

This game has been happening in the streets of New York for years, and yet it's been kept relatively quiet until now. 9-Man is played exclusively by men, and two thirds of the players have to be "100% Chinese" in order to play. The game was created as a way to build bonds between men who were looked down on elsewhere, since anti-Chinese sentiment that was happening in America at the time forced Chinese workers to live and socialize mostly among themselves. It resembles volleyball, but there are 18 total players and things apparently get a bit rougher than your average pick-up game of volleyball.

An important element of this documentary is the fact that the film's director, Ursula Liang, is herself an Asian-American and will be documenting this as a way to highlight the athleticism and cultural impact of this game as an insider to this world. Asian athletes haven't always been given respect in the mainstream media, and Liang's background as a journalist at ESPN and other major outlets prove that she has seen these misconceptions firsthand and will work hard to make sure that they don't infiltrate this film. Not only that, but some of the original creators of 9-Man are in their 80s and 90s, but Liang has secured interviews with them to get even more detail about how this sport came to be. Check out her 9-Man pitch video below:

For more info on 9-Man, or to help fund the project, visit its Kickstarter page. Director Ursula Liang and her team are looking to raise $25,000 by Friday, December 21st, and they need your help to bring this cool sport some more recognition. Please support them if you can, and let's see if we can give them the final push that they need to make this happen. If you're all out of cash, I'm sure they'd appreciate it if you could spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or anywhere else you can.

That's all for this latest edition of Kickstart This. You guys have been excellent about sending me great e-mails with solid suggestions, so definitely keep it up! Please leave a comment, or reach me directly by sending an e-mail to: My inbox is always open, and if you send in a Kickstarter or IndieGoGo film project, I can't guarantee that we'll feature it, but I promise you that I'll always take a look. As always, thanks for your support of these indie projects, because they absolutely couldn't exist without without the help of film lovers like you. For our complete Kickstart This archives, visit here. Thoughts?

Find more posts: Indies, Kickstart This



sorry, but it just looks like a bunch of Chinese guys playing volleyball. so the result of anti-Chinese immigrant laws from the 19th and 20th century resulted in a Chinese-only volleyball game?

Hien on Nov 30, 2012


There are many rules that make it distinct: no rotation, different size court and net, you can hit the ball twice in a row, push it into the net to gain a fourth touch, no penetration on the block, specialty moves and positions like chai balling and fai gok and suicide, no jump serves. if you ask a volleyball player, its a completely different game. Plus there is a cultural element that is is distinct, and they play on asphalt. Not to mention 9 guys on each side.

redpen on Nov 30, 2012

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