Documentary Chronicles East German Olympic Champion Figure Skater Katarina Witt’s Rise to Stardom at the Height of the Cold War
The next film in ESPN Films’ and espnW’s Nine for IX series, The Diplomat, will premiere on Tuesday, August 6, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. The film, co-directed by Senain Kheshgi and Jennifer Arnold, tells the story of Katarina Witt, who at the height of the Cold War became one of East Germany’s most famous athletes. Trained in an ice rink that gave rise to socialist heroes, Witt dominated her field by winning six European skating titles, five world championships and back-to-back Olympic gold medals, becoming arguably the world’s best figure skater.
Known as “the most beautiful face of socialism,” her success gave her a unique status in East Germany. It also triggered constant surveillance by the Stasi, East Germany’s notorious secret police force. This film chronicles how Witt fought for her future in socialist East Germany, faced the great changes that occurred after the fall of the Berlin wall and ultimately ended up both a beneficiary and victim of the East German regime.
Senain Kheshgi (Project Kashmir, The First Year) is a Pakistani-American filmmaker who has produced, written and directed projects for numerous television networks. Arnold (A Small Act, American Mullet) is an Emmy-nominated writer, director and producer who works in narrative and documentary formats.
The remaining films in the Nine for IX series on ESPN will air 8 p.m. ET as follows (Digital screeners available upon request):
August 13: Runner
August 20: The 99ers
August 27: Branded
Films that have already aired in the series are Venus Vs., Pat XO, Let Them Wear Towels, No Limits and Swoopes. All Nine for IX films will be available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon the day following air. A collectible DVD gift set with all films will also be available on October 15, 2013.
Follow the Nine for IX series on twitter at @30for30 and @espnW. Fans can join the conversation with the hashtag #Diplomat.
About Nine for IX
ESPN Films and espnW present Nine for IX, executive produced by Robin Roberts and Jane Rosenthal, featuring nine documentary films about women in sports directed by Oscar-nominated, Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning female filmmakers. Inspired by the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the series will air over nine consecutive Tuesdays on ESPN at 8 PM ET beginning July 2, 2013. Stories include Venus Williams fight for equal pay at Wimbledon, the largely unknown history of Katarina Witt and her link with East Germany’s secret police, an intimate look at Pat Summitt—college sports’ most successful coach ever, and the business of sex in the marketing of female athletes. For more information and summaries visit: Nine for IX Media Kit