ESPN Films is working on a documentary about the 1996 USA Women’s Basketball team for its ’30 for 30′ strand, to be directed by Kristen Lappas (Blackfeet Boxing).
The film is set to premiere in 2022 in conjunction with the 50-year anniversary of Title IX, the U.S. federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in education.
Billed as the story of the 12 women who were tasked with auditioning the idea of women’s professional basketball in the U.S., the doc will examine the success of the Women’s Dream Team that dominated the competition at the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996 (the undefeated gold medalists).
The film will also include exclusive behind-the-scenes footage that the NBA shot of the team’s “grueling” 15-month tour leading up to the 1996 Olympics.
Among the players to be interviewed are Rebecca Lobo, Ruthie Bolton (pictured), Nikki McCray, Jennifer Azzi, Katy Steding, Teresa Edwards, Carla McGhee, Sheryl Swoopes, and coach Tara VanDerveer.
ESPN Films’ producer-director Lappas’ is behind such titles as the Emmy-winning short A Mountain to Climb and Emmy-nominated short Arthur, both being adapted into scripted films.
Her film Who Says I Can’t was also selected for Tribeca in 2019 and was a part of the American Film Showcase. Overall, Lappas’ work has received 11 Emmy nominations over the past five years.
The director’s latest film, Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible, has screened in more than 25 film festivals and its laurels and recognition along the way have included the Audience Award at AFI DOCS, the Jury Award at DC Shorts, the Grand Prize at the Academy Award qualifying IndyShorts Festival, and most recently, a nomination for a Critics Choice Documentary Award and a NAMIC Vision Award.
Last month, ESPN Films announced it had partnered with Vice Studios on docuseries for the network’s ’30 for 30′ strand about TV sensation American Gladiators, to be directed by Ben Berman.
Photo: Doug Pensinger/Hulton Archive via Getty Images