WAUKEE, Iowa — The film “New Providence” made its Iowa premiere at the Palms Theatres & IMAX in Waukee Friday night. The film is also playing at other select Fridley Theatres around the state starting this weekend. The premiere was held in the spacious IMAX theater in the Palms.
“Everybody I work with here in Iowa, people in New Providence, people at the girls basketball high school athletic association, the gyms we worked at, coaches that helped us, referees, scorekeepers, we just felt a lot of love while we’re making this film here,” said Jack Smith, the creator and producer of New Providence. “To drive up to the theater today and see it on the marquee, to see the posters inside, and then just actually see it on the big screen, it’s a dream come true.”
Ava Hawthorne, a Gilbert High School junior, starred in the film as Lainey Mitchell, a star basketball player for the New Providence girls six-on-six team. In the movie, Hawthorne’s character gets injured on the court and has to miss playing time. In real life, Hawthorne had a broken arm that sidelined her for the last part of this past basketball season.
“It was fun to just act. I didn’t know really what I was doing, but I was just enjoying the opportunity while it lasted,” said Hawthorne.
Hawthorne was asked if acting is something she would continue.
“Right now I want to focus on basketball, but if something comes up, I might,” Hawthorne said. “In the fall I committed to Drake University to play basketball, so I’m super excited about that.”
The premiere event was attended by legendary basketball star Denise Long Rife of the Union-Whitten state champions of 1968.
“It was a very adorable, sweet movie. I like the fact that kind of the theme of the movie was to try to portray that every girl that played six-on-six basketball loved it and was intense about it,” said Rife.
The movie is now showing at the Palms and a few other Fridley theaters around Iowa. It will premiere in New Providence at the Roundhouse the last weekend in June.