Posted by Alia Haddad on March 13, 2013 at 10:55 am
While I realize that many movie-goers are interested in sports-based documentaries, they have never been my jam. This is true. Well, this was true, until this year’s Sundance Film Festival where I saw Lucy Walker’s The Crash Reel, a documentary about Olympic-hopeful snowboarder Kevin Pearce who suffers a traumatic brain injury just shy of his first Olympic tryouts. Not only was this a great documentary, but it also ranked among my favorite films that I was lucky to see at Sundance. And now, with the Tribeca Film Festival coming up next month, my eyes are wide open at the possibility of another great coming out of their annual ESPN Sports Films section. And luckily, now that the line-up has been released, I have time to salivate over the four that made the schedule. Check it out below, and let us know what you’re excited to see!
TRIBECA/ESPN SPORTS FILM FESTIVAL LINE-UP
Big Shot, directed by Kevin Connolly. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. In 1997, John Spano, a previously unknown Dallas business mogul, bought the New York Islanders for a whopping $165 million. The future looked bright for the once-legendary team. Then Spano took his seat in the front office. Entourage’s Kevin Connolly takes us behind the scenes of the biggest fraud in hockey history, as Spano’s wealth is revealed to be a lie and his rise to power a brilliantly concocted scheme.
The following Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival titles have been announced in their respective sections as part of the 2013 TFF film program:
McConkey, directed and written by Steve Winter, Murray Wais, Scott Gaffney, David Zieff, and Rob Bruce. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. An all-star roster of sports movie-making talent directs this heartfelt biography of extreme ski trailblazer Shane McConkey, once described as “the most influential skier ever.” McConkey covers forty years and countless high places to track Shane’s conversion from downhill racer to freeskiing marvel to pioneer of a hair-raising new discipline—ski BASE jumping—giving new meaning to the question, how do you live your life to the fullest?
Lenny Cooke, directed by Benny Safdie and Joshua Safdie. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. In 2001, Lenny Cooke was the most hyped high school basketball player in the country, ranked above future greats LeBron James, Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. A decade later, Lenny has never played a minute in the NBA. In this quintessentially American documentary, filmmaking brothers Joshua and Benny Safdie track the unfulfilled destiny of a man for whom superstardom was only just out of reach.
The Trials of Muhammad Ali, directed by Bill Siegel. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Brash boxer Cassius Clay burst into the American consciousness in the early 1960s, just ahead of the Civil Rights movement. His transformation into the spiritually enlightened heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali is legendary, but this religious awakening also led to a bitter legal battle with the U.S. government after he refused to serve in the Vietnam War. This film reveals the perfect storm of race, religion and politics that shaped one of the most recognizable figures in sports history.