In the latest edition of Variety Doc Dreams presented by National Geographic, director Peter Berg details the year-long process of filming the North Community High School football team in Minneapolis following the murder of George Floyd in 2020. Berg and his crew expected an emotionally-charged shoot, given the somewhat operatic ups and downs the team’s football season, coached by members of the Minneapolis Police Department amid rising tensions in the city — and across the globe.

“I’m not coming in here with an agenda other than, ‘I believe something kind of special and beautiful is happening in this community,” Berg said, recounting his early conversations with the North High team, coaches and their families. “I’m coming here under the thesis that there’s a special relationship between these coach-cops and these kids and their families.”

But what Berg could not predict, nor would’ve dared to imagine, was the death of one of their lead subjects during production. In Feb. 2021, North High’s star quarterback, 15-year-old Deshaun Hill Jr. was shot and killed. Just days before his death, they’d filmed a scene with Hill on a date with his girlfriend. That Hill had been murdered was unimaginable.

“People get killed in this country every single day, young people do. We just don’t hear about it, or we hear about it for a second, and it’s just, ‘Oh, that’s horrible,’ and we move on. It’s very hard to live in that and to feel it,” Berg said. “It was very painful for all of us involved in this, it wrecked us.”

At the time of Hill’s murder, the crew had about two more weeks of production, so Berg urged the crew to finish the project in Hill’s honor. With much of his playing career and potential captured on camera, the documentary was something for his family to cherish.

“You get tunnel vision. I don’t really care anymore whether it makes money for Showtime, whether so-and-so likes it, whether so-and-so hates it,” Berg said of getting back to work with the crew. “Now, suddenly it’s all about really, five people, Deshaun Hill’s immediate family, particularly his mother.”

Before the locking the docuseries, Berg assembled Hill’s family and all the players, coaches and parents involved in the project to view an early cut.

“When we showed her the film, and I saw tears and laughter and smiles at the end and she said, ‘Yes, please do this,’ that was pretty much everything for me,” Berg said. “Boys in Blue” is currently available to watch on Showtime.

Watch the full interview above.