The ninth Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival will kick off with the gala world premiere of Play It Forward, a documentary on former NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez and his family. The film, directed by Andrea Nevins and produced by Cristan Reilly, focuses on the dynamic between Gonzalez and his older brother Chris. Michael Strahan and Constance Schwartz also serve as executive producers.
Stories about athletes, teams and competition are the focus of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports event, which will run from April 15-26 as a subset of the Tribeca Film Festival, which runs April 15-29. The sports lineup was announced Monday.
“Play It Forward displays the competitive drive of two brothers, while expressing endless support for the other as they strive to achieve greatness their own way,” said Genna Terranova, TFF festival director. "The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival has always sought to showcase compelling and unique stories of competition, challenges and the passionate pursuits of glory."
One of two 1 of 1: Origins short films from the collaboration between Marvel Entertainment and ESPN Films will screen before each film at the sports festival. The shorts tell the story of when athletes, like Marvel super heroes, realize the origin of their powers. One is about race car driver Danica Patrick, the other focuses on 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
In addition, Spike Lee, Eva Longoria, Nate Silver and Retta will be among those participating in post-film conversations, dubbed Tribeca Talks: After the Movie.
The sports festival films, which will be screened throughout the festival, will also be seen on Sports Day on April 25 at Regal Battery Park Stadium 11. The other films that will be featured in the 2015 Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival are:
• ESPN Films’ Angry Sky, directed by Jeff Tremaine, tracks truck driver Nick Piantanida’s obsession with launching the first civilian space program.
• Adrián Biniez’s El Cinco is a coming-of-middle-age story about leaving the soccer field.
• The Jason Hehir-directed documentary Down in the Valley follows NBA star turned Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson’s quest to save the Kings.
• The statistics and speed of baseball are explored in Jonathan Hock’s Fastball.
• Gored is a documentary on Antonio Barrera, the "Most Gored Bullfighter in History," directed and cowritten by Ido Mizrahy.
• Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt’s Havana Motor Club looks at drag racers prepping for the first sanctioned race in Cuba since 1960.
• The world’s oldest horse race is examined in Palio, directed and cowritten by Cosima Spender.
• The Versus film series, executive produced by Eva Longoria in partnership with ESPN Films, explores moments of personal perseverance, true grit and aspiration in sports history.
• Spike Lee directed The Greatest Catch Ever, which takes a close look at David Tyree’s legendary catch in Super Bowl XLII.
• Shock the World, directed by Zak Knutson, tracks former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura’s campaign for Minnesota governor.
• Katie Holmes’ short film Eternal Princess follows Nadia Comaneci, who scored a perfect “10” in gymnastics at the 1976 Olympic Games.
• Joy Johnson, the oldest woman to run the 2013 New York City Marathon at 86, is the focus of the short film Every Day, directed by Gabe Spitzer.