[New York, NY – May 31, 2011] –Tribeca Film and ESPN announced today that the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival will premiere on video-on-demand (VOD) beginning June 23, 2011, making the premier showcase for independent films about sports and competition available nationwide for the first time.


The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival On Demand will run from June 23 through August 25, and will be available in more than 40 million homes via cable, telco and satellite systems.  Additionally, some titles will be available on the web via digital On Demand services. Viewers will be able to access the films on many of the systems through the “Tribeca Film” category of video-on-demand menus, pay-per-view offerings and other branded destinations online. Tribeca Film will also roll out TURKEY BOWL theatrically with a limited New York run beginning on June 3, 2011.


The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival On Demand brings an exciting level of sports entertainment—both features and documentaries—home to audiences.  The titles cover a wide spectrum of sports, including: CATCHING HELL, from director Alex Gibney, about baseball’s most famous scapegoats; TURKEY BOWL, a narrative feature about a group of friends that get together every year for the time,-honored tradition of touch football; RENÉE, about transgender tennis player Renée Richards; FIRE IN BABYLON, about the champion West Indies cricket team; and BOYS OF SUMMER, about the Little League World Series.


“For the past five years, an exceptional range of sports films have premiered at the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival. This summer, for the first time together with ESPN, we are excited to be able to bring a selection of high quality and diverse competition themed films to audiences nationwide On Demand,” said Geoffrey Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer, Tribeca Enterprises.


“We are honored each year to partner with the Tribeca Film Festival to deliver compelling sports stories that connect with a diverse audience of moviegoers,” said Connor Schell, executive producer, ESPN Films.  “Being able to offer the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival On Demand gives us yet another platform to reach people who are interested in entertaining content that weaves together competition and sports themes with captivating human stories.”


The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival On Demand will also feature select titles from ESPN’s very successful “30 for 30” series, including: THE TWO ESCOBARS, THE U and PONY EXCESS. 


Following are the upcoming titles to premiere On Demand from June 23 – August 25:


  • CATCHING HELL documents the pop fly that will live in infamy. When Chicagoan Steve Bartman fatefully deflected a foul ball in Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship, the city's long-suffering Cubs fans found someone new to blame for their cursed century without a World Series title. Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney explores the psychology of diehard sports fans, the frightening phenomenon of scapegoating, and the hysteria that turned mild-mannered Bartman into the most hated fan.  Produced by ESPN Films, CATCHING HELL recently had its World Premiere at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and will premiere on ESPN September 27th.


  • FIRE IN BABLYON tells the captivating story of the glorious domination of the West Indian cricket team, who, with a combination of phenomenal skill and fearless spirit, became the one of the greatest teams in sports history.  Told in the words of legendary and revered players of the time, including Sir Viv Richards, Michael Holding, and Sir Clive Lloyd, FIRE IN BABYLON illustrates how this exceptional team fundamentally changed the sport forever. With their mastery of ‘fast-bowling’ with pitches that sometimes reached a deadly 90 miles per hour, they hijacked the genteel game of the privileged elite and played it on their own terms. With impressive archival footage and a robust soundtrack that includes the likes of Bob Marley and the Wailers, Gregory Issacs, Faithless and Horace Andy, FIRE IN BABYLON celebrates the emancipation of a people through sport, whilst painting a fascinating picture of this extraordinary era of sporting dominance and its roots in politics, pride, anti-colonial fury and music. Directed by Stevan Riley and produced by award-winning filmmakers Charles Steel and John Battsek, FIRE IN BABYLON recently had its US Premiere at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. 


  • RENÉE chronicles the life of trailblazing transsexual athlete Renée Richards, who shook the world of sports in 1977 with her controversial entry into the US Open. Simultaneously, it follows her today as she struggles to cope with a life of contradictions and personal conflict. Through interviews with tennis legends, family, friends and experts from the transsexual field, a story of perseverance, breakthrough and hardship unfolds. Directed by Eric Drath and produced by ESPN Films, RENÉE recently had its World Premiere at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and will premiere on ESPN October 4th.


  • TURKEY BOWL tells the story of 10 friends who gather together every summer in LA to play the Turkey Bowl - a co-ed touch football game that brings a piece of small-town tradition to the urban sprawl - all for the beloved prize for the winning team… a turkey. Friendships flare and fade, jealousy is met with laughter and pain, old and unrequited love threatens to remain old and unrequited - all of these undercurrents are revealed in the unique, improvised rhythm of this backyard sport and this real-time comedy. Written and directed by Kyle Smith (and funded by his win on the reality show “Crash Course”), feature film TURKEY BOWL was a fan favorite at the recent SXSW Film Festival.  TURKEY BOWL will also have a limited New York run beginning on June 3, 2011 at the reRun Theater (


The following is available from July 21 – August 25:


  • BOYS OF SUMMER follows a scrappy Little League® team from a tiny Caribbean island as they fight the odds to reach the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The Curaçao youth baseball team has competed at the Little League World Series in America for an incredible seven consecutive years.  Over the course of one season, the boys face injuries and obstacles as they try to keep the winning streak alive.  Determined team manager Vernon Isabella and his players learn the meaning of national pride in a story that travels from a humble island ball field to the international spotlight and back.  Directed, shot and produced by Keith Aumont, BOYS OF SUMMER has had a successful run on the film festival circuit, including the Aruba International Film Festival, the New York International Latino Film Festival, the New Orleans Film Festival, the Palm Beach International Film Festival, the Cine Las Americas International Film Festival and the Latin American Film Festival.

About Tribeca Film:
Tribeca Film is a comprehensive distribution label dedicated to acquiring and marketing independent films across multiple platforms, including theatrical, video-on-demand, digital, home video and television.  It is an initiative from Tribeca Enterprises designed to provide new platforms for how film can be experienced, while supporting filmmakers and introducing audiences to films they might not otherwise see. American Express continues its support of Tribeca and the independent film community by serving as the Founding Partner of Tribeca Film.


About ESPN Films:
Created in March 2008, ESPN Films produces high-quality films showcasing intimate and compelling stories.  In October 2009, ESPN Films launched the Peabody Award-winning 30 for 30 film series.   Inspired by ESPN’s 30th Anniversary, the thirty films that made up theseries were a thoughtful and innovative reflection on the past three decades told through the lens of diverse and interesting sports fans and social commentators.  Additional projects from ESPN Films include, among others, the critically acclaimed and Television Academy Honor-winning 16th Man, Cannes film festival official selection The Two Escobars, and the Peabody Award-winning Black MagicCatching Hell, from Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, and Renée, from filmmaker Eric Drath, will be released in 2011. 



Film stills are available at




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Tammie Rosen
Tribeca Film

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