About this submission

There’s a unique beauty to the simplicity of pickup basketball, between strangers who may only know each other by their trash talk or jump shot. For me, it has become a form of coping with day-to-day stress, a space of release and expression, yet also unlikely companionship. This sparked my interest in streetball as an unconventional form of self-therapy, specifically in the context of masculinity, where traditional self-help methods are often stigmatized. AYO, CHECK UP! finds two casual hoopers whose respective internal struggles manifest in an over-competitive, highly physical one-on-one, a toxic projection of the issues they’re unwilling to face.

Los Angeles, CA, USA
Nathan Xia is a Chinese-American, multi-hyphenate artist from San Diego, California, who spreads his time between writing, directing, acting, and music. He graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a BFA in Film & Television Production. His films have screened at festivals like LA Shortsfest and the San Diego Asian Film Festival, won audience awards at the Nashville Film Festival and NFFTY, and gained distribution from platforms like Apple TV, Amazon Prime, PBS, and Omeleto. Xia's innate fascination with misunderstood people inspires him to tell stories driven by deeply emotional performances from complex characters. His films explore themes of mental health, coming- of-age, and the Asian-American experience through an emotionally vibrant and comedic personal lens. He currently works as a freelance narrative, music video, and commercial director/editor and has collaborated with clients like Universal Music Group, Hollywood Records, and Godmode. more...

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