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2011 TribecaESPN Sports Film Festival

Featuring films about a pop fly that will live in infamy, a tennis pro whose transformation startled the world, and one fighter's humble quest for his 12th UFC middleweight championship.


An audience favorite, the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, sponsored by Time Warner Cable, is still strong in its 5th year, boasting a lineup that puts the biscuit in the basket. The 2011 Festival spotlights six films, all of which will screen throughout the Tribeca Film Festival and at Tribeca Cinemas on Saturday, April 30.


“Five years ago Tribeca and ESPN started the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival with a modest goal: We wanted to shine a light on sports stories and broaden the audience for independent film,” said Tribeca Film Festival Executive Director, Nancy Schafer. “It has become one of the signature programs of the Tribeca Film Festival and I know that the audience will be thrilled with this year’s films, just as I was.”


Serving as the Sports Fest's centerpiece Gala is the world premiere of Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney’s Catching Hell, an exploration of the pop fly that will live in infamy.


Catching Hell


When Chicagoan Steve Bartman fatefully deflected a foul ball in Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, the city’s long-suffering Cubs fans found someone new to blame for their cursed century without a World Series title. Catching Hell delves into the psychology of die-hard sports fans, the frightening phenomenon of scapegoating, and the hysteria that turned mild-mannered Bartman into the most hated man in Chicago.



Other titles include:


Fire In Babylon


Fire In Babylon (UK)
Directed by Stevan Riley

Played against the backdrop of the national liberation movements of the '70s and '80s, this lively documentary pays tribute to the golden age of cricket in the West Indies as the teammates set out to triumph over their former colonial masters and make a name for themselves on the world stage. This celebration of the power of sports as a vehicle for social change is set to a thumping reggae beat featuring Bob Marley, Gregory Isaacs, and Burning Spear.




Klitschko (Germany)
Directed by Sebastian Dehnhardt

Six-foot-six Ukrainian brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko emigrated to Germany to begin careers in heavyweight boxing in 1996, and the sport was never the same. After a 15-year reign over the ring, they made history in 2008, becoming the first brothers in the sport to hold world titles at the same time. Through an engaging mix of candid interviews and absorbing fight footage, Klitschko offers a captivating glimpse into the makings of these champion boxing brothers.


Like Water


Like Water (USA)
Directed by
Pablo Croce

In the most brutal and often most misunderstood sport in the world, becoming a champion takes more than just blood, sweat, and tears. Like Water follows middleweight Ultimate Fighter Anderson Silva as he prepares to crown his four-year run as the unbeaten king of the sport with a record 12th straight win in the UFC. With intimate access to Silva and his intense training, the surprising and inspiring man behind one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time emerges.




Renée (USA)
Directed by Eric Drath

Despite his alpha-male reputation, tennis ace Dick Raskind always felt different from other guys. But it wasn't until his 40s, after getting married and having a son, that Dick was reborn as Renée Richards. Renée was still dynamite on the tennis court, but being the first transgender player in the women's US Open would put her in a spotlight she—or her troubled son—couldn't escape. This fascinating doc is a testament to both personal and athletic perseverance.




Splinters (USA)
Directed by Adam Pesce

In the remote seaside village of Vanimo in Papua New Guinea, there are hardly any jobs—but there are infinite prime waves. Twenty years after the first board was introduced on the island, surfing has become a way of life. This spirited documentary, tinged by joyful music and fascinating glimpses into a rare culture, follows four local surfers competing in the country's first-ever national surfing championships in the hopes their surfboards will carry them to a better life.



Get the ball rolling with a look at the lineup for the 2011 Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, sponsored by Time Warner Cable.


Check out more of the slate:
TFF 2011: World Documentary Feature Competition
TFF 2011: World Narrative Feature Competition
TFF 2011: Cinemania
TFF 2011: Special Screenings
TFF 2011: Spotlight
TFF 2011: Viewpoints

Learn more: TFF 2011 Ticket Packages
Get ahead of the crowd and buy your advance ticket package today!



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