New York, New York (March 20, 2007) –Tribeca Enterprises, the parent company of the Tribeca Film Festival, and ESPN Inc., the worldwide leader in sports entertainment, today announced the screenings and information for the inaugural Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, which will take place during the 12 days of the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. In its debut, the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival will offer screenings of 14 feature length films including 12 World Premieres, a special Tribeca Talks panel discussionand “Sports Saturday,” a free, outdoor, day of interactive sports related games and demonstrations. The sixth annual Tribeca Film Festival will take place April 25 – May 6, 2007.
“Over the last five festivals we have shown almost 30 narrative and documentary films which explore sports and competition and now with the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival we have a platform for these films and their audiences,” said Jane Rosenthal co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival and Tribeca Enterprises. “The films in this program not only tell the stories of athletes and competition, but highlight how sports can be a positive social force for bridging racial and political divides.”
“The collaboration between ESPN and Tribeca epitomizes the growing convergence of sports and entertainment and will provide fans with a collection of competitive theme films whose depth, scope and quality are simply unprecedented,” said Geoff Reiss, ESPN senior vice president, ESPN Original Entertainment. “We're delighted with the strength of the slate and look forward to giving this exciting genre the attention it deserves.”
The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival will open April 27 with a gala premiere of the film “The Grand” a mockumentary starring Woody Harrelson on a quest to win the Grand Championship of Poker to save his dead grandfather’s hotel-casino from the clutches of a high-end real estate developer. “The Grand” also features Werner Herzog, Cheryl Hines, David Cross, Ray Romano and Dennis Farina.
The next night, the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival’s second gala premiere will feature acclaimed director Michael Apted’s documentary “The Power of the Game.” Weaving together six storylines of triumph over adversity, the film chronicles the social impact of the 2006 World Cup on a global scale.
Supporting the creation of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival is a very select group of individuals from the entertainment industry and world of sports who will serve as members of the inaugural advisory board.
Advisory board members include Orly Adelson; Greg Anthony; Willow Bay; Jessica Bendinger; Tom Bernstein; Senator Bill Bradley; Mark Ciardi; Mark Cuban owner of the Dallas Mavericks; Peter and Bobby Farrelly; Don Garber, MLS Commissioner; Phil Guarascio, Lead Executive of Sponsership and Sales for the NFL; Gordon Gray; Jonathan Hock; Nick Hornby; Ed Horne, President, NHL Enterprises; Steve James; Scoop Jackson; Jimmy Kimmel; Jay Kriegel; Spike Lee; Richard Linklater; Donna Lopiano; Mitchell Modell; Drew Nieporent; Mike Pearl; Rachel Robinson; Jim Rome; Chip Rosenbloom; Jeremy Schapp; Ron Shelton; Bill Simmons; John Sloss; Jon Tisch; Mike Tollin; Heidi Ueberroth, NBA Entertainment, Global Marketing Partnerships and International Business Operations; and Jeff Wilpon, COO of the New York Mets.
In addition to the advisory board, former New York Giants running back and currently a correspondent on The Today Show, Tiki Barber, will serve as an ambassador for the Festival. As part of his role, Barber will participate in a special Tribeca Talks panel discussion “No Pain...No Gain…” where he will discuss his new career in broadcasting.
The festival will also feature “Sports Saturday” on Saturday, May 5th. “Sports Saturday” will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. starting on North Moore, between Greenwich and West Streets, and is free and open to the public. At “Sports Saturday” families will have the opportunity to participate in interactive athletic experiences including a BMX Bike Jump from ESPN, an NBA Pavilion, representation by the New York Jets, New York Giants, New York Islanders, New York Mets, and New Jersey Devils, freestyle soccer demonstrations by the players from the New York Red Bulls street team, community tennis clinics in conjunction with the USTA, and more.
The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival has also launched a free, fan-oriented online tournament at www.tribecaespn.com to crown the Fans' Favorite Baseball Flick. Baseball movies spanning the history of cinema will compete in head-to-head match-ups, a la college basketball’s bracket format, with the online audience determining the winners. Fans will determine the initial selection and seeding until March 26th followed by four rounds of head-to-head "play" that will determine the all-time greatest baseball movie. The champion will be crowned on April 25th and will screen during the Festival as part of “Sports Saturday” on May 5th at AMC Kips Bay. In addition to the online competition, ESPN sports writers and announcers will participate in regular debates at www.espn.com and on ESPN Radio. More information on the baseball film tournament can be found at www.tribecaespn.com.
The following are the films featured in the inaugural Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival. All titles have been previously announced in their respective sections as part of the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival film program.
TRIBECA/ESPN SPORTS FILM FESTIVAL FILM PREMIERES:
- Chops, a documentary directed by Bruce Broder (U.S.A.) - World Premiere. Each year, Jazz at Lincoln Center and its artistic director, Wynton Marsalis, host the prestigious Essentially Ellington Festival, a competition of high school jazz bands from across the country. This toe-tapping and empowering documentary focuses on one Florida band filled with young musicians who hit all the right notes.
- Doubletime, a documentary directed by Stephanie Johnes (U.S.A.) - New York Premiere. If seeing is believing, watching these kids Double Dutch elicits double-takes and disbelief. Chronicling the world of competitive jump roping, this energetic documentary follows two teenage teams that combine dance and gymnastics to breathtaking effect, as they prepare and contend for the world championship at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.
- The Final Season, directed by David Evans, written by Art D’Alessandro. (U.S.A.) - World Premiere. Baseball is everything in Norway, Iowa, but when government authorities decide the small town's population no longer warrants its own high school, a longstanding baseball tradition is in peril. Sean Astin stars as the new and untested coach who must provide Norway with one exciting final season in this heartwarming story based on true events.
- The First Saturday in May, a documentary directed by John and Brad Hennegan. (U.S.A.) - World Premiere. Heartbreak and hope abound in this engrossing documentary about the holy grail of horse racing-the Kentucky Derby. Two brothers travel from Arkansas to Dubai and on to Churchill Downs to trace the paths of six rising equine stars, including the heroic Barbaro, and the people, passion and dreams at the core of this breakneck competition.
- The Grand, directed by Zak Penn (U.S.A.) - World Premiere. Woody Harrelson goes all-in to save his dead grandfather's hotel-casino from a real estate developer in this hilarious mockumentary. His master plan: to win the world's most famous high stakes tournament, the Grand Championship of Poker. Anteing up the laughs are Werner Herzog, Cheryl Hines, David Cross, Ray Romano and Dennis Farina.
- The Hammer, directed by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, written by Kevin Hench. (U.S.A.) -World Premiere. In an underdog comedy that never pulls a punch, an aging boxer now working as a construction worker (Adam Carolla) is convinced by a wily coach to step back into the ring after a 20-year hiatus. Though the former rising champion is well past his prime, he embarks on a rollicking quest for what he missed the first time around: a spot on the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team
- Hellfighters, a documentary directed by Jon Frankel (U.S.A.) - World Premiere. The Hellfighters, Harlem's only high school football team, are a long way from Friday Night Lights. The bleachers are empty, practice space scarce and the Board of Education ruthless, but under the perseverance of coach Duke Ferguson, the Hellfighters are playing their way out of the ghetto, one touchdown at a time.
- Chávez, a documentary marking Diego Luna’s directorial debut (Mexico) - World Premiere. Actor Diego Luna (Y Tu Mamá También) steps behind the camera for this heartfelt documentary about the life and career of his countryman, Mexican boxer Julio César Chávez, considered one of the sport's--and Mexico's--all-time greats. Luna follows Chávez through the final bouts of his career, even as he proudly passes the torch of boxing to his son.
- King of Kong, a documentary directed by Seth Gordon (U.S.A.) – New York Premiere. To those in the know, no classic arcade game is more difficult than Donkey Kong. Maybe that's why the world record holder is so protective of his celebrity. Look inside this world of competitive gaming, as obsession and ego drive a diverse and fascinating group of individuals to fight over who is the real "King of Kong." A Picturehouse Release.
- Planet B-Boy, a documentary directed by Benson Lee (U.S.A.) - World Premiere. A powerful documentary about the vibrant global resurgence of break-dancing, Planet B-Boy goes inside the underground hip hop dance scenes around the world, as the best crews prepare for the "The Battle of the Year" -- an annual "World Cup" of b-boying. Director Lee combines spectacular dance footage with poignant insight explaining why these dancers make tremendous sacrifices for their art. In English, French, Japanese and Korean.
- The Power of the Game, a documentary directed by Michael Apted (U.S.A.) - World Premiere. Six stories intertwine in this dramatic and moving examination of the social impact of soccer across the world. Juxtaposing thrilling footage from games leading to and throughout the 2006 World Cup, Apted highlights stories of triumph over adversity from around the globe and skillfully conveys the remarkable transformative power of this sport. In English, French and Spanish.
- Sons of Sakhnin United, a documentary directed by Christopher Browne (U.S.A.) - World Premiere. Jews and Arabs striving for a common goal can seem unlikely in today's world, and yet-as depicted in this insightful documentary-the small Arab town of Sakhnin has been united by sport. Beating the odds in a quixotic quest for Israel's State Cup, the multi-ethnic soccer team B'nei Sakhnin battles to maintain their Premier League status. In English, Hebrew and Arabic.
- Steep, a documentary directed by Mark Obenhaus (U.S.A.) - World Premiere. Whether it's jumping out of a helicopter hovering above the powdery slopes of Alaska's mountain ranges or trying to outrun an avalanche in the French Alps, Steep traces the legacy of extreme skiing from its early pioneers to the death-defying daredevils of today.
- Unstrung, a documentary directed by Rob Klug (U.S.A.) - World Premiere. Much as Spellbound did for spelling bees, Unstrung exposes the surprising dramas of the juniors tennis world, hitting the road with a handful of teenage competitors as they head for the national championship. This inspiring documentary records the tremendous pressure and the sweat, blood and tears that can separate contenders from champions.
All feature length films in the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival are eligible for Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award for Best Feature Film.
Press screenings will begin April 22nd and will be open to all accredited press. Schedule and locations will be available in coming weeks on the festival website.
Venues and Tickets
AMC Theatres® is the official theatre partner for the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival and will help the Festival expand its reach with two new screening venues: AMC Loews Kips Bay 15 and AMC Loews 72nd Street 1. Clearview Chelsea West is another key venue addition for 2007. In addition to these three new venues, festival screenings will take place at the following venues: AMC Loews 34th Street 14, AMC Loews Village 7, Regal Cinemas Battery Park Cinemas 11, Tribeca Cinemas, BMCC Tribeca PAC, Pace University Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, Drive-in at the North Cover, Tribeca Film Center and The Grand Theater @ Tribeca Grand.
Please visit www.tribecafilmfestival.org or call 866.941.FEST (3378) to purchase Festival Passes, Packages and individual tickets. Single tickets can be purchased online, by phone, or at the Tribeca Film Festival box office, located at 15 Laight Street (between Varick and Avenue of the Americas, one block south of Canal Street) and additional satellite locations. Single tickets will be available to downtown residents (with proof of residency) at only the Tribeca Festival Box Office beginning on Friday, April 13th. Single tickets will be available for purchase to the general public online, by phone, and at the Box Office beginning on Saturday, April 14-Sunday, May 6.
Tribeca Enterprises is a diversified multi-platform media company located in New York City. Established in 2003 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff, the company currently operates a network of branded entertainment businesses including the Tribeca Film Festival, Tribeca Cinemas and Tomorrow Unlimited. The Company's mission is to provide artists with unique platforms to expand the audience for their works and to broaden the access point for consumers to experience independent film and media.
ESPN, Inc. is the world’s leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of over 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of six domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU), ESPN and ESPN2 HD simulcast services, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (networks, syndication, radio, web sites), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN Zones (sports-themed restaurants), and other growing new businesses including ESPN360 (Broadband), ESPN on Demand, ESPN Interactive and ESPN PPV. Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.
About the Tribeca Film Festival
The Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2002 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff after the attacks on the World Trade Center to help economically and culturally revitalize Lower Manhattan through an annual celebration of film, music, and culture. The Festival’s mission is to assist filmmakers to reach the broadest possible audience, enable the international film community and the general public to experience the power of film, and to promote New York City as a major filmmaking center.
In its first five years, the festival attracted over one and a half million attendees from the US and abroad and created more than $325 million in economic activity for New York City.
The sixth annual Tribeca Film Festival will run from April 25th to May 6th, 2007. The Festival is anchored in Tribeca with additional venues throughout Manhattan, and includes film screenings, special events, concerts, a family street fair, and Tribeca Talks panel discussions. For more information on this year’s festival, as well as for highlights on the festival and filmmakers as it takes place, please visit www.tribecafilmfestival.org.
For press inquiries regarding the Tribeca Film Festival, please contact Nicole Quenqua Adler at (212) 843-8288 and Tammie Rosen (212) 941-2003. Film stills for the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival are available at www.image.net. If you are not an image.net media user yet, please register using the following referral code: 2604.