New documentary brings Duke-Carolina basketball rivalry to life

UNC coach Roy Williams and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski meet in a still from the documentary film "Duke Carolina, The Blue Blood Rivalry."
UNC coach Roy Williams and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski meet in a still from the documentary film "Duke Carolina, The Blue Blood Rivalry."

A new documentary that chronicles the bitter rivalry between the Duke and UNC basketball programs will be available for public consumption Friday – just in time to rile up fans before the schools meet again on the court this weekend.

“Duke-Carolina: The Blue Blood Rivalry” was screened Monday night at Tyler’s Tap Room in Durham. But it will get a much wider release through Time Warner Cable On Demand starting this Friday. The Blue Devils’ and the Tar Heels’ second hoops grudge match of the season happens Saturday night in Chapel Hill.

The idea for the 95-minute documentary came from Durham-based filmmaker Hassan Pinto, who founded GreatestFan Films, and filmmaker Jason Rem. Pinto was already working with Art Chansky to update and digitize Chansky’s “Blue Blood Rivalry” books when Rem suggested that they use the fresh interviews to make a documentary.

The team turned to Kickstarter, a website where people chip in to help fund various projects, for capital. They set – and met – their goal of $30,000.

“I’ve always been interested in crowd-funding,” said Pinto. “This proved to me that my friends who went to Duke or Carolina cared about the rivalry so much they were willing to donate to see this project come to fruition.”

Pinto is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, so his blood runs a lighter shade of blue. But he points out that his wife is a graduate of Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. And he said he and Rem worked very hard to make the film a fair, straight-down-the-middle look at the rivalry.

That fairness started with building the team that would put the film together.

“We constructed our team equally from Duke and Carolina,” Pinto said. “I wanted Duke people to know we were going to make a love story for both sides and for the rivalry.”

Rem, who wrote the film along with Chansky, has no allegiance to either school. But he understood the importance of balance.

“We made sure both universities were served properly,” he said. “And we treated both schools in the highest regard.”

The film contains never-before-seen interviews with coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams, as well as many of the biggest names in the Carolina and Duke programs: Phil Ford, Jay Bilas, Eric Montross, Chris Duhon, Antawn Jamison, Seth Curry and others. Pinto also got input from announcers Dick Vitale, Dan Schulman, Tim Brando and Erin Andrews, and from a couple of famous alumni: comedian Lewis Black (UNC ’70) and recording artist Mike Posner (Duke ’10).

In all, Rem said they conducted more than 100 interviews to tell their story.

Most of the interviews in the documentary were shot around the two UNC-Duke game days in 2012, and the story is told in a “ticking clock” style, according to Rem. But even though the structure of the documentary is built around those games, Rem said there’s a timelessness to the story because participants shared memories from their favorite Duke-UNC games going back to the 1970s.

“We wanted to make the audience feel like they were there on game day,” Rem said. “But the people we interviewed also talked about games from the past and what wins and losses mean for the fans and the community.”

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