Wild Ball

World Premiere Li Hongquan | Ding Beichen | 2022 | China | 89min | Documentary
Li Hongquan|Ding Beichen|Zhao Qi|Xiao Long|Wang Heqiuzi|Fengxi|Yan Wenshuai|Zou Di|FAC-D12|Lee Benson


Lee Benson is a legendary basketball player in China, known as the “Basketball Kingin Prison” as he missed the NBA due to his imprisonment. He is known to be short-tempered and difficult to deal with, but that does not stop him from creating unbreakable records in the CBA games. After he retires from CBA, he starts to play self-organized basketball games, also known as ‘wild ball’, in the villages of China where the local bosses will pay lots of money to invite well-known players. By playing wild ball, Lee is able to earn 2–3 million yuan a year. However, as his skills deteriorate, the negative side of wild ball begins: the bosses stop paying him, and some agents scam his money. For his career, family, and dignity, is he going to roll the dice or go with the flow?

Director's statement

“Heard about the guy who fell off a skyscraper? On his way down past each floor, he kept saying to reassure himself, ‘So far so good.’ It’s not how you fall that matters. It’s how you land!” (Quoted from LA HAINE).

We completed filming in 2018. Benson started a new life by playing basketball after his imprisonment. He played overseas, went through a journey of playing wild ball, and returned to the U.S. To keep himself away from the mess, he seems to be making a lot of efforts. His experience makes us wonder: Can talent and effort alone change one’s life and destiny?

The film is in the form of chapters, with the subheadings named using basketball terms.


Li Hongquan

Li Hongquan is an independent director. WILD BALL is his first feature-length documentary.


Ding Beichen

WILD BALL is her first feature-length documentary. She has edited documentaries including THE PLATEAU STONES, WOMEN AT HOME, etc. THE PLATEAU STONES won Best Proposal at the Asian Pitch, and was nominated for the SIFF Project, West Lake International Documentary Festival pitching session, and Guangzhou International Documentary Festival pitching session.