[New York, NY – March 9, 2015] – The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), presented by AT&T, today announced the lineup for the ninth annual Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, sponsored by Mohegan Sun. This year’s program, which focuses on stories about athletes, teams and competition, includes documentary and narrative features, short films, and panel conversations with top athletes and filmmakers, as well as Sports Day at the annual Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair. The 2015 Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival will run from April 15-26, as part of the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.
Play It Forward, a documentary directed by Andrea Nevins, will have its world premiere on Thursday, April 16 as the opening gala of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival. The film observes the sibling dynamic during a pivotal year between legendary Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez and his older brother Chris, whose own football dreams were never realized. The documentary is produced by Cristan Reilly and executive produced by Michael Strahan and Constance Schwartz.
“Play It Forward displays the competitive drive of two brothers, while expressing endless support for the other as they strive to achieve greatness their own way,” said Genna Terranova, TFF Festival Director. “The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival has always sought to showcase compelling and unique stories of competition, challenges and the passionate pursuits of glory.”
CBS Sports Analyst Tony Gonzalez of Play It Forward adds, “Our family and friends are what drives our journey both on and off the field. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue that journey at this year's Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival with the world premiere of Play It Forward."
Screening exclusively in front of all Sports Film Festival films will be one of two short films in the Marvel Entertainment and ESPN Film collaboration, 1 of 1: Origins. Told through narration and custom Marvel comic animation, each short from the series focuses on a single athlete and explores moments when, like all Marvel Super Heroes, athletes come to understand the origin of their powers. Travel back in time to see a 10-year-old Danica Patrick racing go-carts or Colin Kaepernick's father teaching him an important lesson after a baseball game that did not go his way.
“We look forward to the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival each year because it gives us the chance to shine a spotlight on excellent storytelling whether it is an internal project from ESPN Films, or from an independent producer as is the case with Play It Forward from Andrea Nevins,” said Dan Silver, ESPN Films’ senior director of development. “There is no shortage of fascinating stories from the world of sports and we’re proud to have two new 30 for 30 films, Angry Sky and Down in the Valley, featured in the festival this year.”
Since its inception in 2006, the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival has become the premier outlet to showcase independent films that focus on sports and competition. The feature films that will screen as part of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival explore a wide array of topics including two brothers’ quest for football greatness, the historic saga of Sacramento and its favorite son fighting to pull off one of the greatest upsets in NBA history; a daredevil’s attempt to test the limits of outer space; a man’s transition into adulthood after he retires from the sport that he loves; an inside look at the world’s oldest horse race seen through a master vs. protégé championship battle; a bullfighter’s last shot at glory, a view of Cuba’s drag racing scene as racers prepare for the first sanctioned race in Cuba in more than 50 years; and a glimpse at the magic of baseball as told by 20 of the sport’s all-time greats. Short films that will screen as part of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival examine some of the most discussed sports figures in modern history including Jesse Ventura, Nadia Comaneci, Jim Plunkett, Surya Bonaly, David Tyree, and more.
All of this year’s Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival films will screen throughout the day as ‘Sports Saturday’ on Saturday, April 25 at Regal Battery Park Stadium 11. The films will also screen throughout the Festival, prior to this date.
In addition to the film program, the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival will offer three Tribeca Talks: After the Movie events, a series of conversations where audiences view a film and then participate in a conversation after the screening with filmmakers, film subjects, and industry leaders. Among those participating in this year’s Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival conversations are Spike Lee, Eva Longoria, Nate Silver, and Retta. The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival will also include Sports Day as part of the Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair on Saturday, April 25. Sports Day gives sports fans an opportunity to enjoy a variety of free, sports-related games, and activities. Sports Day is free and open to the public and will take place on North Moore Street, between Greenwich and West Streets, in Manhattan.
The following films are featured in the 2015 Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.
TRIBECA/ESPN SPORTS FILM FESTIVAL
Sponsored by Mohegan Sun
- Play It Forward, directed by Andrea Nevins. (USA) – World Premiere. An intimate portrait of All-American NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez, renowned for his sure hand and intrepid heart, and his older brother, and wingman, Chris. Take a seat at the Sunday night dinner table of the Gonzalez family and experience their pride, love, and resilience, as they speak candidly about how they overcame disappointment, and supported each other through tragedies on the winding journey to fulfilling their ambitions. The documentary is produced by Cristan Reilly and executive produced by Michael Strahan and Constance Schwartz
The following Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival titles have been announced in their respective sections as part of the 2015 TFF film program:
- Angry Sky, directed by Jeff Tremaine. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. In the 1960s, truck-driver Nick Piantanida discovered skydiving, and set out to break the world record for highest parachute jump by taking a helium balloon to the edge of space. Over the course of a year, his dream to launch the first civilian space program drove him to obsession. An ESPN Films release.
- El Cinco (El 5 de Talleres), directed and written by Adrián Biniez. (Argentina) – North American Premiere, Narrative. Patón, with his fiery temper and aggressive play, is the veteran star of his city’s soccer team. When his transgressions land him a lengthy suspension, he considers retirement, while discovering a world that consists of more than just feet and fists. This coming-of-middle-age tale reveals the predicament of leaving the arena where you most feel at home. In Spanish with subtitles.
- Down in the Valley, directed by Jason Hehir. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. How far would you go to save your hometown team? For many Sacramento residents, faced with the nearly certain relocation of their beloved Kings, no boardroom was too distant. One native son proved it. Follow former NBA superstar turned Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson as he battles owners and executives to keep the Kings at home, in this a roaring testament to the passion and power of the small-market fan. An ESPN Films release.
- Fastball, directed and written by Jonathan Hock. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Since 1912, baseball has been a game obsessed with statistics and speed. Thrown at upwards of 100 miles per hour, a fastball moves too quickly for human cognition and accelerates into the realm of intuition. Fastball is a look at how the game at its highest levels of achievement transcends logic and even skill, becoming the primal struggle for man to control the uncontrollable.
- GORED, directed and written by Ido Mizrahy, co-written by Geoffrey Gray. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Gored centers on Spanish bullfighter Antonio Barrera, holder of the dubious title of “Most Gored Bullfighter in History,” as he grapples with the end of his career. Captivating footage of past and present bullfights reveal Barrera’s tremendous passion for the sport, as well as his seemingly irresistible urge to confront death at every opportunity. In Spanish with subtitles.
- Havana Motor Club, directed and written by Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt. (Cuba, USA) In Spanish with subtitles. – World Premiere. Reforms have offered opportunity in Cuba but the children of the Revolution are unsure of the best route forward. For a half-dozen drag racers, this means last-minute changes to their beloved American muscle cars, as they prepare for the first sanctioned race in Cuba since 1960. Punctuated by a lively Cuban soundtrack, Havana Motor Club offers a fascinating glimpse at the resilience and ingenuity of the competitive spirit.
- Palio, directed and written by Cosima Spender, co-written by John Hunt. (UK, Italy) – World Premiere. In the world’s oldest horse race, the Palio, taking bribes and fixing races threatens to extinguish the passion for the sport itself. Giovanni, unversed in corruption, challenges his former mentor, who dominates the game. What ensues is a thrilling battle, filled with the intoxicating drama that is at the center of Italian tradition. In Italian with subtitles.
Tribeca Talks: After the Movie
The Tribeca Talks: After the Movie series gives audiences the opportunity to watch a film and then participate in a related conversation following the screening with filmmakers, film subjects, and subject matter experts. Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival screenings in the Tribeca Talks: After the Movie program include:
- “Versus” film series. Executive producer Eva Longoria has teamed up with ESPN Films on a series of shorts which explore moments in sports history that shine a light on personal perseverance, true grit and aspiration, as well as achievement outside of any sports arena. The short film Go Sebastian Go (directed by Longoria) will world premiere, about the young singer Sebastien de la Cruz, whose rendition of the national anthem before Game 3 of the 2013 NBA Finals ignited racial tweets and hate filled comments – thrusting him into the national immigration reform debate. Additionally, extended clips from other shorts in the series will screen including a short film on Heisman Trophy- and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim Plunkett directed by Ricardo Chavira, as well as a short on legendary French figure skater Surya Bonaly directed by Retta.
After the screening: Stay for a conversation with executive producer Eva Longoria and Versus director Retta (“Parks and Recreation”) who will discuss sports and activism.
- The Greatest Catch Ever, directed by Spike Lee. (USA) – World Premiere. During Super Bowl XLII, the Giants met with the New England Patriots who were undefeated going into the NFL finale. With two minutes left in the game, just when it looks like Giants quarterback Eli Manning will go down, he spots David Tyree, a veteran special teams player down the field and goes deep, setting up one of the most renowned plays in football history.
After the movie: Stay for a conversation with Spike Lee.
- Shock the World, directed by Zak Knutson, (USA) – World Premiere. Pro-wrestler turned politician Jesse Ventura garnered a crowd in the ring, and took this to the streets when he ran for Minnesota Governor in an unprecedented race with unpredictable results that even the polls couldn’t have predicted. Shock the World will appear in FiveThirtyEight’s “Signals” short films series that uses data and statistics to tell stories within the arenas of politics, sports, science, and other sectors.
After the movie: ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight editor in chief and statistician Nate Silver will discuss what can be learned from the numbers of political history with regards to the 2016 election.
- Eternal Princess, (Printesa Vesnica), directed by Katie Holmes. (USA) - World Premiere. In 1976, at the age of 14, Nadia Comaneci accomplished something that had never been done before in the world of gymnastics - scored a perfect “10”. An overnight sensation, she found herself suddenly propelled to the forefront of the sport, the Olympic Games, and the world. But, her story is much more than just one moment.
- Every Day, directed by Gabe Spitzer. (USA) - New York Premiere. At 86, Joy Johnson was the oldest woman to run the 2013 New York City Marathon. The story of an inspiring athlete with an uncommon passion for her sport, and for life.
- Marvel & ESPN Films Present: 1 of 1 - Origins – Danica Patrick, directed by Eric Drath. (USA) - World Premiere. Star race car driver Danica Patrick retells the moment she discovered her super power as a 10 year-old racing go-carts. It was on a little track in rural Beloit, Wisconsin where she discovered that she would do anything to win, and found the internal drive and focus to accomplish greatness.
- Marvel & ESPN Films Present: 1 of 1 - Origins – Colin Kaepernick, directed by Eric Drath. (USA) - World Premiere. If you know football, you know one of its biggest stars, QB Colin Kaepernick. Yet, it was on the baseball diamond that a young Colin would be forever changed. At 12, he was already a stand-out athlete, head and shoulders over his peers in both size and skill. But on one fateful day, the hits were not coming, his fielding was off and his attitude was bad. His father would see this opportunity as a moment to help redirect Colin’s life and forever alter his destiny.
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