ESPN brings back ’30 for 30′

ESPN Films is lining up a second season of its Peabody-winning '30 for 30' film series, to kick off in October, accompanied this time by an additional 30 short films.
May 15, 2012

ESPN Films is lining up a second season of its Peabody-winning ’30 for 30′ film series, to kick off in October, accompanied this time by an additional 30 short films.

The critically acclaimed first season of films saw documentary makers such as Peter Berg (Kings Ransom), Albert Maysles (Muhammad and Larry), Barry Levinson (The Band That Wouldn’t Die), Ice Cube (Straight Outta L.A.) and Barbara Kopple (The House of Steinbrenner) contributing efforts to the series.

For 30 for 30 Vol. II, ESPN is promising “a much more defined multimedia component through closer integration with by featuring filmmaker podcasts with Bill Simmons, topical oral histories, in-depth features and more.”

Each of the feature-length films and digital shorts will be complemented by a long-form written piece on Simmons’ that will aim to deepen the experience for the viewer by providing them with additional context.

Films scheduled to air as part of 30 for 30 Vol. II include Coodie and Chike’s Benji, which looks at the life of 17-year-old Ben Wilson, a promising basketball player whose life was cut tragically short; and Billy Corben’s Broke, which examines how many pro athletes get shocked by harsh economic realities after years of living the high life.

Other new films in the series include Mike Bonfiglio’s Bo Knows, which promises an examination of sports figure Bo Jackson and the marketing campaign that shaped his legacy; and Jonathan Hock’s The Season of Their Lives, which looks at the North Carolina State Wolfpack’s 1982-83 college basketball season.

“’30 for 30′ was conceived as a finite collection and when the original series ended in December of 2010 with Pony Excess, we had underestimated the strength of the connection fans had made between sports documentaries and the ’30 for 30′ brand,” said Connor Schell, VP of ESPN Films.

“We’re proud to have created a brand that has become synonymous with quality sports storytelling and we see value in bringing back a second collection of 30 films.”

Meanwhile, 30 for 30 Shorts will be similar to the feature-length films in that each piece will represent a specific point of view of the filmmaker and will be “a reflection of how they blend the narrative with their own visual style,” according to ESPN.

The run of shorts on begins in September, with a 30 for 30 Short entitled Here Now about Pete Rose currently online as preview of the series.

Schell added: “Launching the new 30 for 30 Shorts brand will give us the chance to widen the array of talented storytellers we can work with who are passionate about sports and have something to say.┬áThe short film genre frees the filmmaker from some of the constraints common with long-form projects.”

Check out the preview trailer for 30 for 30 Vol. II below:

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.