The silver anniversary of the “Stoernover” kicks off the latest SEC Storied documentary, “True Character,” which focuses on the path of the 1998 Arkansas Razorbacks through two key players, QB Clint Stoerner and OL Brandon Burlsworth, leading up to and following their defeat against eventual national champion Tennessee. The film debuts on Tuesday, Nov. 14 – the precise 25th anniversary of the game – at 9 p.m. ET on SEC Network and is directed by David Beilinson.
“The unlikely connection between two gifted athletes, Brandon Burlsworth and Clint Stoerner, drew me to the story of the fumble, and how that split second play in a crucial game would change their lives forever,” said Beilinson. “Discovering that both men shared a dogged determination, a passion for competition, and remarkable self-confidence that would propel them to the top of their sport, revealed a narrative that transcends sports. Clint explains that true character is revealed in times of adversity, and they both shrugged off criticism and naysayers to overcome the obstacles in their way. Their journey at Arkansas is a testament to unwavering dedication and unwritten possibility.”
In the year that followed the “Stoernover,” Burlsworth was drafted into the NFL but died shortly after in an auto accident. Clint Stoerner led the 1999 Razorbacks in a “redemption game” victory over No. 3 Tennessee to avenge the loss and pay tribute to their fallen teammate.
Beilinson has been making documentary films for more than two decades. As a partner at Rumur Inc., he’s collaborated with ESPN, Netflix, HBO, A&E, NBC, ABC, and PBS, among others. In 2022, he created and directed the five-part series Bananaland for ESPN+, which chronicles the rise of the Savannah Bananas baseball team. He was nominated for an Emmy as a director of ESPN’s 30th Anniversary Special for White Men Can’t Jump. Previously, he directed and produced SEC Storied: “Win or Else,” a story of the first integrated basketball team at the University of Kentucky to deliver a national championship. His 30 for 30 film, “The Sweat Solution,” delves into the origin of Gatorade.
“Unveiling never-before-seen archival material is the aspiration of every documentary filmmaker,” Beilinson shared. “Marty Burlsworth’s dedication as a photographer, along with his extensive collection of footage chronicling his brother’s life from birth until his passing, served as the catalyst for giving Brandon an enduring voice within our project. His life resonates deeply with the essence of human courage and the boundless potential within us all.”
An advance press screener is available upon request. Please contact Amanda Brooks at [email protected].
About SEC Storied
ESPN Films launched the SEC Storied documentary series in September 2011, presenting fans the opportunity to explore the rich athletic history of the Southeastern Conference. From extraordinary athletes and coaches to defining games and moments, the series has featured films that focus on the SEC’s recent and more distant past, including one of the most-viewed documentaries in ESPN history, The Book of Manning. In 2015, SEC Storied received its first two Sports Emmy nominations for both “Outstanding Sports Documentary” and “Outstanding Music Composition/Direction/Lyrics” with the film It’s Time: The Story of Brad Gaines and Chucky Mullins.
About SEC Network
The Southeastern Conference and ESPN launched SEC Network on August 14, 2014. The network televises hundreds of games across the SEC’s 21 sports annually. Programming includes in-depth analysis and storytelling in studio shows such as SEC Nation, Marty & McGee, Out Of Pocket, Read & React and Rally Cap, daily news and information with The Paul Finebaum Show and SEC Now, original content such as TrueSouth, SEC Storied and SEC Inside, and more. Hundreds of additional live events are available for streaming exclusively on SEC Network’s digital companion, SEC Network+, via the ESPN App and SECNetwork.com. Follow SEC Network on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Twitter/X.