The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival has revealed the full line-up of films and special events on the docket for this year, including the gala premiere of Andrea Nevins’ football documentary, “Play It Forward,” and post-screening question-answer-sessions with Eva Longoria, Retta, Spike Lee and Nate Silver.
Founded in 2006, Tribeca/ESPN runs is an offshoot of the Tribeca Film Festival that runs tandem with its parent festival.
In addition to “Play It Forward” and the Tribeca Talks, Tribeca/ESPN will screen two animated short films that are the product of 1 of 1: Origins, a unique collaboration between Marvel Entertainment and ESPN Film. Per a release issued by Tribeca Enterprises: “Told through narration and custom Marvel comic animation, each short from the series focuses on a single athlete and explores moments when, like all Marvel Super Heroes, athletes come to understand the origin of their powers. Travel back in time to see a 10-year-old Danica Patrick racing go-carts or Colin Kaepernick’s father teaching him an important lesson after a baseball game that did not go his way.”
Scroll further for more information on the films included in the Tribeca/ESPN line-up. Besides “Play It Forward,” all of the other selections were already announced as festival selections during the weeks prior. [Synopses courtesy of Tribeca.]
Opening Night Gala
“Play It Forward,” directed by Andrea Nevins. (USA) – World Premiere. An intimate portrait of All-American NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez, renowned for his sure hand and intrepid heart, and his older brother, and wingman, Chris. Take a seat at the Sunday night dinner table of the Gonzalez family and experience their pride, love, and resilience, as they speak candidly about how they overcame disappointment, and supported each other through tragedies on the winding journey to fulfilling their ambitions. The documentary is produced by Cristan Reilly and executive produced by Michael Strahan and Constance Schwartz
The following Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival titles have been announced in their respective sections as part of the 2015 TFF film program:
“Angry Sky,” directed by Jeff Tremaine. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. In the 1960s, truck-driver Nick Piantanida discovered skydiving, and set out to break the world record for highest parachute jump by taking a helium balloon to the edge of space. Over the course of a year, his dream to launch the first civilian space program drove him to obsession. An ESPN Films release.
“El Cinco” (El 5 de Talleres), directed and written by Adrián Biniez. (Argentina) – North American Premiere, Narrative. Patón, with his fiery temper and aggressive play, is the veteran star of his city’s soccer team. When his transgressions land him a lengthy suspension, he considers retirement, while discovering a world that consists of more than just feet and fists. This coming-of-middle-age tale reveals the predicament of leaving the arena where you most feel at home. In Spanish with subtitles.
“Down in the Valley,” directed by Jason Hehir. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. How far would you go to save your hometown team? For many Sacramento residents, faced with the nearly certain relocation of their beloved Kings, no boardroom was too distant. One native son proved it. Follow former NBA superstar turned Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson as he battles owners and executives to keep the Kings at home, in this a roaring testament to the passion and power of the small-market fan. An ESPN Films release.
“Fastball,” directed and written by Jonathan Hock. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Since 1912, baseball has been a game obsessed with statistics and speed. Thrown at upwards of 100 miles per hour, a fastball moves too quickly for human cognition and accelerates into the realm of intuition. Fastball is a look at how the game at its highest levels of achievement transcends logic and even skill, becoming the primal struggle for man to control the uncontrollable.
“GORED,” directed and written by Ido Mizrahy, co-written by Geoffrey Gray. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Gored centers on Spanish bullfighter Antonio Barrera, holder of the dubious title of “Most Gored Bullfighter in History,” as he grapples with the end of his career. Captivating footage of past and present bullfights reveal Barrera’s tremendous passion for the sport, as well as his seemingly irresistible urge to confront death at every opportunity. In Spanish with subtitles.
“Havana Motor Club,” directed and written by Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt. (Cuba, USA) In Spanish with subtitles. – World Premiere. Reforms have offered opportunity in Cuba but the children of the Revolution are unsure of the best route forward. For a half-dozen drag racers, this means last-minute changes to their beloved American muscle cars, as they prepare for the first sanctioned race in Cuba since 1960. Punctuated by a lively Cuban soundtrack, Havana Motor Club offers a fascinating glimpse at the resilience and ingenuity of the competitive spirit.
“Palio,” directed and written by Cosima Spender, co-written by John Hunt. (UK, Italy) – World Premiere. In the world’s oldest horse race, the Palio, taking bribes and fixing races threatens to extinguish the passion for the sport itself. Giovanni, unversed in corruption, challenges his former mentor, who dominates the game. What ensues is a thrilling battle, filled with the intoxicating drama that is at the center of Italian tradition. In Italian with subtitles.
Tribeca Talks: After the Movie
The Tribeca Talks: After the Movie series gives audiences the opportunity to watch a film and then participate in a related conversation following the screening with filmmakers, film subjects, and subject matter experts. Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival screenings in the Tribeca Talks: After the Movie program include:
“Versus” film series. Executive producer Eva Longoria has teamed up with ESPN Films on a series of shorts which explore moments in sports history that shine a light on personal perseverance, true grit and aspiration, as well as achievement outside of any sports arena. The short film Go Sebastian Go (directed by Longoria) will world premiere, about the young singer Sebastien de la Cruz, whose rendition of the national anthem before Game 3 of the 2013 NBA Finals ignited racial tweets and hate filled comments – thrusting him into the national immigration reform debate. Additionally, extended clips from other shorts in the series will screen including a short film on Heisman Trophy- and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim Plunkett directed by Ricardo Chavira, as well as a short on legendary French figure skater Surya Bonaly directed by Retta.
After the screening: Stay for a conversation with executive producer Eva Longoria and Versus director Retta (“Parks and Recreation”) who will discuss sports and activism.
“The Greatest Catch Ever,” directed by Spike Lee. (USA) – World Premiere. During Super Bowl XLII, the Giants met with the New England Patriots who were undefeated going into the NFL finale. With two minutes left in the game, just when it looks like Giants quarterback Eli Manning will go down, he spots David Tyree, a veteran special teams player down the field and goes deep, setting up one of the most renowned plays in football history.
After the movie: Stay for a conversation with Spike Lee about the play in question and sports fandom.
“Shock the World,” directed by Zak Knutson, (USA) – World Premiere. Pro-wrestler turned politician Jesse Ventura garnered a crowd in the ring, and took this to the streets when he ran for Minnesota Governor in an unprecedented race with unpredictable results that even the polls couldn’t have predicted. Shock the World will appear in FiveThirtyEight’s “Signals” short films series that uses data and statistics to tell stories within the arenas of politics, sports, science, and other sectors.
After the movie: ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight editor in chief and statistician Nate Silver will discuss what can be learned from the numbers of political history with regards to the 2016 election.
“Eternal Princess,” (Printesa Vesnica), directed by Katie Holmes. (USA) – World Premiere. In 1976, at the age of 14, Nadia Comaneci accomplished something that had never been done before in the world of gymnastics – scored a perfect “10”. An overnight sensation, she found herself suddenly propelled to the forefront of the sport, the Olympic Games, and the world. But, her story is much more than just one moment.
“Every Day,” directed by Gabe Spitzer. (USA) – New York Premiere. At 86, Joy Johnson was the oldest woman to run the 2013 New York City Marathon. The story of an inspiring athlete with an uncommon passion for her sport, and for life.
“Marvel & ESPN Films Present: 1 of 1 – Origins – Danica Patrick,” directed by Eric Drath. (USA) – World Premiere. Star race car driver Danica Patrick retells the moment she discovered her super power as a 10 year-old racing go-carts. It was on a little track in rural Beloit, Wisconsin where she discovered that she would do anything to win, and found the internal drive and focus to accomplish greatness.
“Marvel & ESPN Films Present: 1 of 1 – Origins – Colin Kaepernick,” directed by Eric Drath. (USA) – World Premiere. If you know football, you know one of its biggest stars, QB Colin Kaepernick. Yet, it was on the baseball diamond that a young Colin would be forever changed. At 12, he was already a stand-out athlete, head and shoulders over his peers in both size and skill. But on one fateful day, the hits were not coming, his fielding was off and his attitude was bad. His father would see this opportunity as a moment to help redirect Colin’s life and forever alter his destiny.