Whether you're a sports nut or not, some of the finest documentaries of the past few years have been found on ESPN's "30 For 30" series. Kicking off in October 2009 and ending in December 2010 (which about a dozen more films added in 2011), the endeavor gave feature filmmakers creative control to helm docs about any sports subject that they were interested in, and the tactic resulted in some very strong work. Some of the highlights that premiered on the channel included "The Two Escobars" by Jeff and Michael Zimbalist; "Catching Hell" by Alex Gibney; "Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks" by Dan Klores and much more. In short, the series has spawned some utterly fascinating stories, and the good news is, there's more on the way.
The network has announced a new batch of docs are on the way, and they will start airing this fall. The directors involved are yet to be announced, but some of the early titles will include: "Benji" about high school basketball sensation Ben Wilson; "Bo Knows" about the one time omni-present baseball and football player Bo Jackson and "Broke" about athletes who invest their money poorly. In addition, IndieWire adds that ESPN will also be commissioning 30 digital short docs that will hit the web via Grantland and the first, "Here Now" about Pete Rose, is available now.
Needless to say, we're pretty thrilled. ESPN has wisely let directors tell their stories and results so far speak for themselves, with docs that find the themes and emotions that translate to anybody, sports fan or not. We'll be tuning in. [Variety]