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NewportFILM Announces Creation of New Sports-Centric Film Festival

NewportFILM Announces Creation of New Sports-Centric Film Festival

Are the hundreds of film festivals not enough for you? Do you wish that sports movies would get the attention they deserve? Thanks to newportFILM, both film festivals and sports films are about to get a big boost, thanks to the creation of the newly announced newportFILM SPORTS Film Festival. Sponsored by newportFILM, the weekend-long festival will take place at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. 

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The partnership between newportFILM and the International Tennis Hall of Fame is symbolic of the festival, since it joins film buffs and sports lovers together for a weekend. The variety of sports films will be screened in the Casino Theatre and the USTA Wing, while special events will take place on the tennis facility and grounds.

"We are thrilled about this new partnership. The weekend will offer an outstanding lineup of films and events for the first-ever newportFILM SPORTS film festival," said NewportFILM’s Artistic Director and Founder Andrea van Beuren. "Sports deliver such a wide variety of narratives – joy, agony, triumph, defeat, dedication and much more. The natural stories that come out of sports are compelling well beyond just the final scores, which is seen in the great collection of films that will be shown during the festival. The lineup will appeal to die-hard sports fans, documentary enthusiasts, and anyone who enjoys a really compelling story."

The festival will start with a screening of "Winning," a thought-provoking movie about what it takes to win through conversations with tennis star, Martina Navratilova, golf pro Jack Nicklaus, track and field star Edwin Moses, gymnastics champion Nadia Comaneci and wheelchair tennis star Esther Vergeer. Director Jacqueline Joseph will participate in a post-film discussion.

Highlights of the festival include a panel discussion with female Olympians, including four-time Silver Medal-winning Olympic swimmer Kara Lynn Joyce, who is featured in "Touch the Wall;" a screening of "Dark Horse," the Audience Award Winner in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. "Dark Horse" follows the incredible story of how poor miners became successful horse breeders; and on Saturday, sailing enthusiasts will be treated to a screening of the documentary, "The Weekend Sailor," which chronicles the story of the Mexican crew that won the first sailing race around the world. Director Bernardo Arsuaga will be in attendance, and will participate in a post-film panel discussion with Nick Dana, the current round-the-world sailor for the 2015 Volvo Ocean Race’s Team Alvimedica, and Anderson Reggio, the weather coordinator for the same team. 

In addition to the screenings, festival-goers will receive a sports short film session curated by the New York Times Op-Docs, which is the newspaper’s Emmy-winning forum for short, opinionated documentaries. 

And, of course, a sports film festival wouldn’t be complete without the actual sports. On Sunday, a tennis clinic for kids will open and will be attended by ATP World Tour No. 4 Todd Martin and Wimbledon mixed doubles champion John Austin. Yoga nuts can also participate in an outdoor yoga class on the grass courts, with proceeds donated to newportFILM and the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

"We are very much looking forward to delivering a memorable sports film festival in partnership with newportFILM SPORTS," stated International Tennis Hall of Fame Museum Director Doug Stark. "At the International Tennis Hall of Fame, every day we work to share the great stories of our sport. Film being one of the most compelling and engaging story-telling platforms we have available, the sports film festival will be a great way to share a variety of unique stories from the sports world. We are excited to partner with newportFILM to create a great event for the community."

The newportFILM SPORTS Film Festival will be held from April 29 to May 1. Click here to buy passes, which range from free events, individual film tickets to weekend passes. Check out the full lineup below.

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"Winning" (2015)
Directed by Jacqueline Joseph 2015 (who will be in attendance). What makes an athlete a multiple Olympic Gold Medalist, a Wimbledon champion or winner of The Masters? What gives these athletes an “edge"? Through candid interviews with tennis legend, Martina Navratilova, golf great, Jack Nicklaus, Olympic gymnastics icon, Nadia Comaneci, track and field star, Edwin Moses, and Dutch Paralympian, Esther Vergeer, as well as archival footage of their most exciting moments at the Olympics, Wimbledon, the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, Roland Garros and the Paralympics, the film explores why some athletes achieve greatness.

"The Weekend Sailor" (2016)
Directed by Bernardo Arsuaga (who will be in attendance). In 1973, with almost no experience, Mexican captain Ramon Carlin raced against the superstars of sailing in a nine-month deadly round the world regatta winning the overall prize.
"Sports Shorts," curated by The New York Times Op-Docs
A curated collection of sports-related shorts where you might discover sports you never knew existed and possibly find new perspective on old favorites. Launched in the fall of 2011, Op-Docs is the New York Times’ editorial department’s Emmy-winning forum for short, opinionated documentaries, produced with wide creative latitude and a range of artistic styles, covering current affairs, contemporary life and historical subjects. The New York Times Op-Docs Coordinating Producer Lindsay Crouse will be in attendance.

"Touch the Wall" (2014)
Directed by Grant Barbeito and Christo Brock. On the evening of Saturday August 4, 2012, 17-year-old Missy Franklin won her fourth Gold medal at the London Olympic Games when she swam the backstroke leg of the women’s 4×10 medley relay. It was Missy’s second world record of the Olympic games; it was her fifth Olympic medal. That Saturday was also the end of her teammate Kara Lynn Joyce’s long and productive Olympic career. And though she finished with four Silver medals, just making it to her third Olympics was her greatest accomplishment. "Touch the Wall" is the story of how these two amazing women and their coach got to where they are. It’s a story of winning and losing, of commitment, and of triumph through adversity. It’s also a story of family, of loving what you do, and having fun with the people around you. Film subject Kara Lynn Joyce will be in attendance.

"Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance" (2016)
Directed and written by Louise Osmond. The Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, today the prestigious Volvo Ocean Race, took the sport to its limits. The British Royal Navy purchased six yachts to train 800 man and chose the best four 10-man crews for each of the four legs of the race, yet, an inexperienced Mexican man also signed up. In his fifties, with a crew that included his wife, son, family and friends. His name, Ramon Carlín. A weekend sailor. And he beat every competing nation. Set in a former mining village in Wales, "Dark Horse" is the inspirational true story of a group of friends from a working men’s club who decide to take on the elite ‘sport of kings’ and breed themselves a racehorse. Raised on a slagheap allotment, their foal grows into an unlikely champion, beating the finest thoroughbreds in the land, before suffering a near fatal accident. Nursed back to health by the love of his owners – for whom he’s become a source of inspiration and hope – he makes a remarkable recovery, returning to the track for a heart-stopping comeback. Director Louise Osmond will participate in a post-film Q&A via Skype.

"T-Rex" (2015)
Directed by Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari. 17-year-old Claressa “TRex” Shields from Flint, Michigan dreams of being the first woman in history to win the gold medal in Olympic boxing. To succeed, she will need to stand her ground both inside and outside of the ring. Producer Sue Johnson will be in attendance, and subject, female Olympic Boxing Gold Medalist, Claressa Shields will join the post-film Q&A via Skype.

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