Tribeca unveils ESPN Sports film fest, shorts line-up

The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival has chosen nine films for its seventh edition, including the gala premiere of Kevin Connolly's Big Shot (pictured), while the shorts line-up includes a special presentation of The Battle of amfAr.
March 13, 2013

The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival has chosen nine films for its seventh edition, including the gala premiere of Kevin Connolly’s Big Shot, while the shorts line-up includes a special presentation of The Battle of amfAr.

Big Shot, premiering April 19, is a hockey doc telling the story of John Spano (pictured above), who bought the New York Islanders in 1997 for US$165 million.

Elsewhere, four titles for the sports film fest come from ESPN Films’ ‘Nine for IX’ series, including Pat XO from Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern Winters, which looks at NCAA basketball coach Pat Summitt as she deals with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

The Diplomat, directed by Senain Kheshgi and Jennifer Arnold, tells the story of Olympic ice skater Katerina Witt and the surveillance she was under by the Stasi in East Germany; while Alison Ellwood’s No Limits focuses on world-class free diver Audrey Mestre. Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s Let Them Wear Towels will also screen, and focuses on the debate over female journalists in male athletes’ locker rooms.

Other films screening in the ESPN Sports film fest include McConkey, on Shane McConkey, who has been dubbed the “most influential skier ever;” Lenny Cooke, on the unfulfilled destiny of the most hyped high school basketball player of 2001; The Trials of Muhammad Ali, which reveals what shaped the heavyweight champion; and The Motivation, on eight of the world’s gutsiest professional skateboarders.

The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival runs during the Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), from April 17-28 in New York City.

“We are excited that Big Shot, which chronicles one of the most infamous sagas in professional sports management history, will kick-off this year’s Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, and to share the range of these personal stories seen through the lens of sports,” said Genna Terranova, Tribeca Film Festival director of programming.

In addition to the sports docs, TFF has also named its short film lineup of 60 films and a special screening of The Battle of amfAR.

Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, The Battle of amfAr tells the story of how Dr. Mathilde Krim and Elizabeth Taylor launched one of America’s first AIDS research foundations. A conversation with Krim, Taylor’s daughter-in-law Aileen Getty, global health consultant and activist Regan Hofmann, and amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost will follow the screening, moderated by amfAR chairman Kenneth Cole.

The shorts program features two documentary categories, including the debut of the ‘History Lessons’ category, made up entirely of world premieres.

In the new doc category, shorts include Minos Papas’ A Short Film About Guns, Emily Harrold’s Reporting on The Times: The New York Times and The Holocaust, Bess Kargman’s Coach, Michael Scalisi’s Royal American, and Steven Kochones’ Who Shot Rock & Roll.

In the ‘Character Witness’ strand, docs include Nathanael Carton’s Recollections, Leslie Tai’s Grave Goods, Jamie Chambers’ When the Song Dies, Caroline Laskow and Ian Rosenberg’s Wilt Chamberlain: Borscht Belt Bellhop, Jonathan VanBallenberghe’s Lapse: Confessions of a Slot Machine Junkie, Josh Koury and Myles Kane’s We Will Live Again, and David Darg and Bryn Mooser’s The Rider and the Storm.

The winner of the best documentary short award win a cash prize and will qualify for consideration in the short films category of the Academy Awards.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.