Klores, Kopple, Levinson and Maysles to Explore
Historic Sports Moments
ESPN has secured three additional filmmakers for ESPN Films’ ambitious “30 for 30” film project. Dan Klores (Black Magic, Crazy Love), Barry Levinson (Diner, The Natural) and Albert Maysles (Gimme Shelter, Grey Gardens) along with previously announced participant, Barbara Kopple (Harlan County USA and Shut Up & Sing), will turn their lenses toward a variety of sports subjects from the past 30 years in sports: Reggie Miller and the New York Knicks, The Steinbrenners, The Baltimore Colts’ departure to Indianapolis and the title fight between Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes. Debuting in October 2009, “30 for 30” will gather 30 filmmakers to create 30 one-hour films on sports topics from 1979 – 2009, the ESPN years.
King of the New York Streets (Dan Klores)
Reggie Miller single-handedly crushed the hearts of Knick fans multiple times. But it was the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals which solidified Miller as Public Enemy #1 in New York City. With moments to go in Game 1, and facing a seemingly insurmountable deficit of 105-99, Miller scored eight points in 8.9 seconds to give his Indiana Pacers an astonishing victory. This career-defining performance, combined with his give-and-take with Knicks fan Spike Lee throughout the series, made Miller and the Knicks a highlight of the 1995 NBA playoffs. Award-winning director Dan Klores will explore how Miller proudly built his legend as “The Garden’s Greatest Villain.”
The Steinbrenner Family Business (Barbara Kopple)
Love him or hate him, there is no denying that George Steinbrenner has been one of the most colorful and successful owners in contemporary sports. Since buying the New York Yankees in 1973 for under $10 million, “King George” emphatically branded the world’s most celebrated sports franchise as his own. The Boss has boasted 10 pennants, six World Series trophies and a corporate net worth well above $1 billion. As the team has transitioned to new leadership and moves into a new stadium this spring, two-time Oscar-winning director Barbara Kopple will examine this challenging and intriguing transfer of power of baseball’s ultimate family business.
The Band That Wouldn’t Die (Barry Levinson)
In late March of 1984, a moving company secretly packed up the Baltimore Colts’ belongings and its fleet of vans snuck off in the darkness of the early morning. A city of deeply devoted fans was left in shock and disbelief. What caused owner Robert Irsay to turn his back on a town that was as closely linked to its team as any in the NFL? Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barry Levinson, himself a long-standing Baltimore Colts fanatic, will probe that question in light of the changing relationship of sports to community. Through the eyes of members of the Colts Marching Band, Levinson will illustrate how a fan base copes with losing the team that it loves.
Muhammad and Larry (Albert Maysles)
In October of 1980, Muhammad Ali was preparing to fight for an unprecedented fourth heavyweight title against his friend and former sparring partner Larry Holmes. To say that the great Ali was in the twilight of his career would be generous: Most of his admiring fans, friends and fight scribes considered his bravado delusional. What was left for him to prove? In the weeks of training before the fight, documentarians Albert and David Maysles took an intimate look at Ali trying to convince the world – and perhaps himself – that he was still “The Greatest.”
At the same time, they documented the mild-mannered and undervalued champion Holmes as he confidently prepared to put an end to the career of a man for whom he had an abiding and deep affection. In the raw moments after Ali’s humbling defeat in this one-sided fight, the Mayslesfootage never received a public screening or airing. Here for the first time is the unseen filmed build up to that fight, accompanied by freshly shot interviews by Albert Maysles with members from both the Ali and Holmes camps, as well as others who were prime witnesses to one of the last chapters of Ali’s legendary career.
The four filmmakers join previously announced “30 for 30” participants Steve Nash (Marathon of Hope), Mike Tollin (Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?), Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman (The U) and Spike Lee (TBD). The entire film/filmmaker slate will be announced in the coming months.