ESPN has acquired the TV rights to the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival entry “The Lost Son of Havana” for its ESPN Films division. Directed by Jonathan Hock and produced by the Farrelly Brothers and Kris Meyer, the documentary explores Cuban pitcher Luis Tiant’s return to Cuba after 46 years of exile and 19 seasons playing professional baseball for the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians. English and Spanish language versions of the film will be televised in August, 2009 on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. CAA brokered the deal with ESPN.
“We could not have selected a more captivating story for our first Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival acquisition than The Lost Son of Havana,” Keith Clinkscales, ESPN senior vice president, content development and enterprises, said in a statement. “It’s our goal to bring our audience a steady stream of exciting and compelling projects that aim to both enlighten and entertain. Jon Hock and the Farrelly Brothers have done just that.”
“The Lost Son of Havana is a story about El Tiante’s need to go home,” Bobby and Peter Farrelly said in a statement. We are ecstatic that our film has found its own home with our good friends at ESPN.”
Hock added, “I grew up playing wiffle ball, trying to pitch like Luis Tiant. He was the best-loved player in baseball, during the last era when the game was pure and we believed our heroes were playing just for the love of it. Traveling with him to Cuba, I discovered he was also playing for the love of his father, a Cuban and Negro League legend he had to leave behind. Though Luis never won a World Series and isn’t in the Hall of Fame yet, I think ESPN’s viewers will see what a champion Luis truly is.”