New documentary highlights North Carolina-Duke basketball rivalry

In “Duke-Carolina: The Blue Blood Rivalry,” writer-director Jason Rem explores the heated basketball feud that has simmered for 93 years.

The independent documentary from Rem’s namesake REM Entertainment and Greatest Fan Films was released via video-on-demand services March 8, just a few weeks before the start of this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which kicked off today.

Both basketball powerhouses, whose campuses are nine miles apart, are playing in this year’s tournament, with Duke a No. 2 seed and North Carolina a No. 8 seed.

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The documentary includes interviews with current and former Duke and North Carolina players, including Phil Ford, Jay Bilas, Eric Montross, Seth Curry and P.J. Hairston. Rem, who also executive produced the project, sat down with the teams’ current coaches, Mike Krzyzewski of Duke and Roy Williams of North Carolina.


Rem, a Diamond Bar native whose directing credits include episodes of the Fox Sports series “Beyond the Glory,” didn’t grow up ensconced in the rivalry. But Rem got a taste for it in 2011 when friend Hassan Pinto, owner of marketing company GreatestFan, asked him to produce a video feature that would accompany an e-book series about the rivalry.

“I came back to Hassan and said, ‘I’m a filmmaker. Why don’t we make a documentary?’” Rem said. Ultimately, Art Chansky, author of the “Duke-Carolina” e-books, served as co-screenwriter on the documentary.

Rem said his favorite interview was one with Los Angeles Lakers players Chris Duhon and Antawn Jamison. The former played for Duke, while the latter was a Tar Heel.

“The Blue Blood Rivalry” also includes interviews with Duke and North Carolina fans who were on hand for the teams’ two rivalry games in 2012.

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“I was able to weave these interviews together to make you feel like you were there on game day,” Rem said.

Rem’s project was partly financed by $30,000 raised on Kickstarter, the Internet-based, crowd-sourcing service. Image Entertainment, the film’s distributor, also provided some capital, said Rem, adding that the total budget was “below six figures.”

The film is available via on-demand platforms from Time Warner, Comcast and Cox, among others. Image will release the film on DVD and Blu-ray later this year.

“Duke-Carolina: The Blue Blood Rivalry” isn’t the first documentary to tackle the subject -- HBO released “Battle for Tobacco Road: Duke vs. Carolina” in 2009.

When it comes to choosing sides in the rivalry, Rem is diplomatic: The filmmaker said that he doesn’t have a favorite and didn’t fill out a bracket this year.

“I’ve been so busy,” he said.


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