April 05, 2011

Preview of Off the Rez

His film ‘Rez’-onates

Brooklyn producer back with story of Native American hoops star

By Zach Braziller
“No matter how many reservations you go to, no matter how bad it is, there is always a hoop, there is always a gym and there are always people there,” said Hernandez, now 33 and a graduate assistant/video coordinator for the Utah State men’s basketball team.

Hernandez said he believes “Off the Rez,” which will be featured at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival, tells that story.

The Brooklyn native is a producer of the coming-of-age documentary that follows the path of Shoni Schimmel, a superstar girls basketball player with flair and an advanced skill set. Created by Jonathan Hock, who also did “Through the Fire,” the Sebastian Telfair story, “Off the Rez” follows Schimmel, then a high-school junior living on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon. She just finished a brilliant freshman season at Louisville.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see "Superstar" Native Basketball Player.

Below:  "Hernandez had a major hand in the documentary entitled Off the Rez, which follows Shoni Schimmel, now with Louisville, during her junior and senior years of high school."

1 comment:

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:


Shoni’s big screen shot

Portland’s basketball star shines on and off the court in ‘Off the Rez’

Hernandez, now a graduate assistant and video coordinator for the Utah State men’s basketball team, is acutely aware of the affect basketball has on Native American life.

“When you’re used to being a warrior and you’re used to having battle and you’re used to being able to do things together as a team and those things get taken away, you have to find another way to express that,” Hernandez says. “Basketball provides the opportunity to do that.”

Hock’s willingness to allow Hernandez to show the film began a relationship between the two. A few years later, after seeing Shoni play at an AAU tournament, Hernandez sent Hock a newspaper article about her and a note that said: “This is ‘Through the Fire Part Two’ waiting to happen.”

Hock, a Queens, N.Y., native, grew up idolizing “Pistol” Pete Maravich, wearing the basketball star’s sneakers as a youngster. When Hock flew out to Oregon and saw Schimmel’s breathtaking behind-the-back passes, show-stopping ball handling skills and seemingly limitless range from behind the 3-point line, Hock knew he had met “Pistol Pete’s” female reincarnation.