Unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at how athletes are using modern technology and science to achieve greatness, executive produced and narrated by Academy Award and Emmy winner Alex Gibney
ESPN Films, in association with Jigsaw Productions, announced today that all six episodes of its new docuseries “Enhanced” will premiere on Monday, July 16, exclusively on ESPN+, the first-ever multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International group and ESPN. Executive produced by Academy Award and Emmy-winning filmmaker, 30 for 30 alum Alex Gibney (“Catching Hell”), as well as Stacey Offman, Brad Herbert, Issac Bolden and Rich Perello. Trailer: https://es.pn/2LaWPWO
“Enhanced” takes viewers inside the secret world of modern sports training, technology, recovery and more, and raises questions about the characters, power struggles, and breakthrough innovations that are driving the greatest performances on the planet. The docuseries weaves together moments of greatness, inspiration and heartbreak with behind-the-scenes looks at the laboratories, institutes and academies trying to turn athletic dreams into reality, and big bucks.
“We’ve been talking to Alex for years about making something like “Enhanced” – an edgy, forward-looking collection about the limits of the human body – and are so grateful to have worked with him and the talented roster of directors on this docuseries,” said Libby Geist, vice president and executive producer, ESPN Films and Original Content. “It’s a fresh new format for ESPN Films and we are continuing to push our own storytelling boundaries as our projects take on different forms.”
Added Gibney: “I’ve always been fascinated with the will to win – often at any cost – as well as the scientific and ethical issues surrounding the attempts to push the body beyond natural limits. But in ‘Enhanced,’ there was also an opportunity to look beyond doping and changing the contours of the body to attempts to change the architecture of the mind in order to increase performance. Ever since ‘Catching Hell,’ I have been talking to Libby, Connor (Schell) and the folks at ESPN Films about doing something on this. And since the beginning of ‘The Armstrong Lie,’ Dan Coyle and I have been getting together for beers (the original enhancement drug at the Tour de France) to bat around these ideas. I’m delighted that ESPN gave me and the team the opportunity to explore.”
Dan Coyle, author of The Talent Code and David Epstein, investigative reporter at ProPublica and author of The Sports Gene are just some of the notable experts that provide insight into the range of topics across the docuseries. The six episodes are as follows:
SKILL, Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, explores the push and pull of Nature versus Nurture in the development of elite athletes. Featured subjects include Portland Trail Blazers basketball player CJ McCollum and U.S. Olympic sprinter Natasha Hastings.
ALGORITHM WARS, Directed by Jesse Sweet, focuses on the data revolution that transformed baseball 10 years ago, and now has become a disrupting force in nearly every arena of professional sports. Featured subjects include Seattle Reign soccer stars Megan Rapinoe and Beverly Yanez, New York Yankees pitcher Dellin Betances, and Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey.
MIND GURUS, Directed by Paul Taublieb explores the mind-blowing work that promises to evolve the brain into an athletic machine, focusing on the mental training techniques deployed by professional athletes to secure a competitive advantage. Featured subjects include professional beach volleyball player and three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings, sports psychologist Michael Gervais, and Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof.
POWER, Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, delves into the pursuit of power, from the history of the crackdown on steroids, to exploring controversial new technologies that threaten to change the record books, and the entire landscape of sports forever. Featured subjects include Jeff Novitzky, Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance for the UFC, bodybuilder Ryan Russo, and former powerlifter Tony Fitton.
ENDURANCE, Directed by Paul Taublieb, asks what are the limits of endurance in the human body? One man, Yannis Pistiladis, the mad scientist of distance running, is determined to find out. Featuring gold medalist Kenenisa Bekele and Olympic marathon gold medalist and Kenyan distance runner Eliud Kipchoge
RECOVERY, Directed by Alison Klayman, takes a look at the medical advances in recovery and the ethical issues surrounding the topic, asking if we are any closer to “cheating” recovery. Notables featured include Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Phoenix Suns basketball players Devin Booker and Jared Dudley, Brazilian Olympic gymnast Lais Souza, and former NFL player Jeff Novak.
Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month through the ESPN App and ESPN.com.
The trailer for “Enhanced” can be viewed at: https://es.pn/2LaWPWO
About ESPN Films
ESPN Films has been an industry leader in documentary filmmaking since its inception in March 2008, producing more than 100 documentaries that have showcased some of the most compelling stories in sports. The high quality of storytelling, highlighted by the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 series and the Academy-Award winning documentary “O.J.: Made in America,” has led to record viewership as well as multiple honors and critical acclaim. Additional projects from ESPN Films over the years have included 30 for 30 Shorts, Nine for IX and the SEC Storied series.
ESPN+ is the first-ever multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International group and ESPN. It offers fans thousands of additional live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks. This includes hundreds of MLB, NHL and MLS games, Grand Slam tennis, Top Rank boxing, PGA Tour golf, college sports, international rugby, cricket, the full library of ESPN Films (including 30 for 30) and more. Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or a discounted annual price of $49.99 per year) and cancel at any time.
ESPN+ launched on April 12th and is an integrated part of a completely redesigned ESPN App. Already the leading sports app, the new ESPN App is the premier all-in-one digital sports platform for fans and is a showcase of the company’s culture of innovation. With a richer, increasingly more personalized experience, the new ESPN App is able to curate all of ESPN’s incredible content into an experience unique to each fan’s individual tastes. ESPN+ is also available through ESPN.com.
About Jigsaw Productions
Jigsaw Productions is helmed by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, considered one of the most prolific and thought-provoking documentary filmmakers of our generation. Founding Jigsaw Educational Productions in 1978, Gibney set out to make the company an incubator for diverse filmmakers, giving each the opportunity as part of the Jigsaw team to explore and refine their talent in the art of producing documentary films. In 2012, Gibney founded Jigsaw Productions, LLC, and partnered with Kew Media Group (formerly Content Media Corporation), a global entertainment corporation, allowing Jigsaw to further expand into feature films and the scripted and unscripted television series arena.
Jigsaw has produced some of the most acclaimed documentary films in recent years, including the triple Emmy® and DuPont-Columbia Award-winning Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, one of the most watched documentaries in HBO’s history; the Academy® and Emmy® Award-winning Taxi to the Dark Side; the Oscar®-nominated Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room; the multiple Emmy® Award-winning Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God; Showtime’s Emmy®-winning History of the Eagles, the controversial We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks, the provocative film about Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace, The Armstrong Lie and Zero Days about cyberwar.
Jigsaw Productions TV series include: The New Yorker Presents, a series which brings to life the award-winning The New Yorker magazine: Cooked, a four part docu-series explored through the lenses of the four natural elements – fire, water, air and earth, based on Michael Pollan’s book: Death Row Stories, a popular CNN series executive produced by Gibney and Robert Redford; Edge of Eighteen, a groundbreaking series for Al Jazeera America where Jigsaw mentored high school seniors as they filmed their lives on the brink of adulthood, and Parched, a four part investigative docu-series about the water crisis, which aired on Nat Geo in early 2017. Jigsaw’s latest series Dirty Money – executive produced by Gibney – unveils corruption and scandal in some of the most influential companies and industries, and premiered on January of 2018 on Netflix, and The Looming Tower, a scripted series that premiered on Hulu in February 2018 executive produced by Alex Gibney, Dan Futterman, and Lawrence Wright, based on Wright’s book of the same name.