NEW YORK–ESPN Inc. and Tribeca Enterprises, the parent company of the Tribeca Film Festival, will launch The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, a multi-platform showcase for independent sports films, it was announced today by John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president, content and Jane Rosenthal, Tribeca Film Festival co-founder. In a multi-year arrangement, The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival will be programmed and operated by the Tribeca Film Festival with on-air support from ESPN, the world‘s leading sports brand. Targeted at both the film industry and sports film fans, the Festival will feature a complete program of film screenings, live events, online interactivity, and media extensions. An advisory board, comprising leaders in sports and film, is currently in formation.
“ESPN‘s collaboration with the Tribeca Film Festival demonstrates our continued commitment to serving sports fans by extending the discussion about sports overall,” said Skipper. “Independent film has grown exponentially in the last few years, and sports-themed films have grown with it. The Tribeca Film Festival has captured sports films like no other film festival and has proven to be creative, smart and passionate about nurturing films of all kinds. Together, we hope to inspire filmmakers to make sports-themed films with this new platform in mind and thereby raise the level of the genre.”
“This brings together sports and film in an exciting new way,” said Robert De Niro, Tribeca Film Festival co-founder.
The inaugural Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival will debut at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival (April 25 – May 5, 2007) and feature premiere screenings of sports-related narrative and documentary feature and short films, industry events and will include user generated online content curated by the festival‘s programmers. At the core of the festival will be the premiere screenings of independent feature films that will be seeking commercial distribution. The festival will also feature “Sports Saturday,” where all the independent sports films will screen and special interactive community events will take place with opportunities to meet sports stars, filmmakers and actors.
“Filmmakers have long been captivated by the compelling storytelling inspired by sports,” said Jane Rosenthal, Tribeca Film Festival co-founder. “By combining forces with ESPN, the world‘s leading sports brand, we will not only serve passionate sports fans but build new audiences for sports filmmakers and their films, on a national and international basis, at the festival as well as on a year-round basis.”
Since its inception in 2002, the Tribeca Film Festival has screened 29 films about sports ranging from basketball to surfing to wrestling. Selections have included: “Step into Liquid,” “Shaolin Soccer,” ”Lipstick & Dynamite,” “Rize,” “Through the Fire,” ”Blue Blood,” “Freedom’s Fury,” “Goal! The Dream Begins,” and “Once in A Lifetime”. With today‘s announcement, future sports films and filmmakers now have an unprecedented venue to showcase their work.
ESPN will dedicate television, radio, print and online resources to support and promote the festival.
Films in the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival will be accepted through the Tribeca Film Festival‘s normal submission procedures. Information about the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival – including film clips and background, as well as content related to the intersection of sports and film – will be available on the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival website, www.tribecafilmfestival.org/espn.html.
ESPN, Inc. is the world‘s leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of over 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of six domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU), ESPN and ESPN2 HD simulcast services, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (networks, syndication, radio, web sites), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN Zones (sports-themed restaurants), and other growing new businesses including ESPN360 (Broadband), ESPN on Demand, ESPN Interactive and ESPN PPV. Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.
Tribeca Enterprises is a diversified multi-platform media company located in New York City. Established in 2003 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff , the company currently operates a network of branded entertainment businesses including the Tribeca Film Festival, Tribeca Cinemas, and Tribeca Online. The Company’s mission is to provide artists with unique platforms to expand the audience for their works and to broaden the access point for consumers to experience independent film and media.