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Still from PELÉ: BIRTH OF A LEGEND. Photo by IFC Films.
FILM ARTICLE

Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival Features Shaquille O'Neal, Spike Lee, the NYC Football Club, and More

The 10th annual collaboration between Tribeca and ESPN will be the biggest one yet. Here's why.

How big is this year's Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival? It'll kick off on Thursday, April 14, with Shaquille O'Neal in person, and he's huge—as in, 85 inches worth of rim-rattling height. The NBA legend will be in attendance for the world premiere of the new ESPN 30 for 30 documentary This Magic Moment, about the unstoppable run that he and his Orlando Magic teammates, including Penny Hardaway, had back in the 1990s.

And after O'Neal, the sports heavyweights will keep on coming. Elsewhere during the 10th annual Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, sponsored by Mohegan Sun, soccer great Pelé will take part in a post-screening conversation after the premiere of the new biopic Pelé: Birth of a Legend; Spike Lee will premiere his latest short sports doc, 2 Fists Up, an intimate look at the recent Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the University of Missouri's football team; the hilarious Adam Scott, Nick Kroll, and Jenny Slate will unveil their sports-minded comedy My Blind Brother, while the similarly funny Aubrey Plaza's all-women recreational basketball squad will be the focus of the doc Pistol Shrimps; and O.J. Simpson will be the focal point of two events, both revolving around ESPN Films' massive non-fiction miniseries O.J.: Made in America.

Here's the 2016 Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival's complete roster:


TRIBECA/ESPN SPORTS FILM FESTIVAL
Sponsored by Mohegan Sun

Gala:
This Magic Moment, co-directed by Erin Leyden and Gentry Kirby. (USA) – World Premiere. Documentary.
In the mid-1990s, Orlando was the epicenter of excitement in the NBA. The young franchise, led by mega-stars Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway, beat Michael Jordan and the mighty Bulls en route to the 1995 NBA Finals. They lost to the Rockets that year but it was clear this team from Orlando was a dynasty in the making. But the Magic's moment on top was never fully realized, a classic "what-could-have-been" story, where success came fast and big and then "poof," the magic was gone.
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All of this year's Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival films will screen throughout the day as "Sports Saturday" on Saturday, April 23, at Regal Battery Park Stadium 11. The films will also screen throughout the Festival, prior to this date.

PELE: BIRTH OF A LEGEND, dirs. Jeff Zimbalist and Michael Zimbalist

Pelé: Birth of a Legend
Section: Special Screenings
Directed and written by Jeff Zimbalist and Michael Zimbalist. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. From the slums of Brazil to center stage at the world’s biggest sporting event, Pelé's rise to become the youngest-ever World Cup winner, at the age of 17, was nothing short of a miracle. Full of laughs, life lessons, and heart, this inspiring biopic is perfect for introducing a new generation to the greatest soccer player of all time. With Vincent D'Onofrio, Rodrigo Santoro, Diego Boneta, Seu Jorge, Colm Meaney. An IFC Films release.
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EL CLASICO, dir. Halkawt Mustafa

El Clásico
Section: International Narrative Competition
Directed by Halkawt Mustafa, written by Anders Fagerholt and Halkawt Mustafa. (Norway, Iraqi Kurdistan Region) – North American Premiere.
Alan and Gona are in love, but Gona's father won't approve their union because Alan is a little person. So, Alan hits the road with his brother, traveling from their small Iraqi village to the Bernabéu Stadium, home of Real Madrid. The plan: meet Cristiano Ronaldo, and earn the blessing of Gona's father. El Clásico is a distinctly cinematic road movie, brimming with warmth and humor. With Wrya Ahmed, Dana Ahmed, Rozhin Sharifi, Kamaran Raoof, Nyan Aziz. In Arabic, Kurdish with subtitles.
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KEEPERS OF THE GAME, dir. Judd Ehrlich

Keepers of the Game
Section: Viewpoints
Directed by Judd Ehrlich. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary.
Lacrosse is a sacred game for Native Americans, traditionally reserved for men. When a women's varsity team forms in upstate New York, they aim to be the first Native women's team to take the championship title away from their rivals Massena High. With the indigenous community torn, they find that more than just the championship is on the line.
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Magnus
Section: Spotlight
Directed by Benjamin Ree, written by Linn-Jeanethe Kyed and Benjamin Ree. (Norway) – World Premiere, Documentary.
Carlsen is known as the "Mozart of Chess" because, unlike many chess grandmasters, he possesses innate ability, an unbelievable memory, and unrivaled creativity. Memorized moves and calculated probability can only carry a chess player so far; Magnus exploits this weakness in his opponents on his way to becoming the World Chess Champion. In English, Norwegian with subtitles.
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My Blind Brother
Directed and written by Sophie Goodhart. (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative.
In Sophie Goodhart’s utterly original romantic comedy, Robbie (Adam Scott) is a champion blind athlete and local sports hero whose brother Bill (Nick Kroll) is always overlooked, even though he runs every marathon by his side. When both fall for the same lady (Jenny Slate), Bill must decide if he will put himself second again, or finally stand up to his blind brother. With Zoe Kazan, Charlie Hewson, Maryann Nagel, and Greg Violand.
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PISTOL SHRIMPS, dir. Brent Hodge

Pistol Shrimps
Section: Spotlight
Directed and written by Brent Hodge. (USA, Canada) – World Premiere, Documentary.
Sometimes girls just wanna have fun…and ball. Brent Hodge (A Brony Tale, TFF 2014) and Morgan Spurlock (Mansome, TFF 2012) introduce us to an eclectic group of women who play in an LA recreational basketball league, focusing on the Pistol Shrimps, a rag-tag group of actresses (including Aubrey Plaza, Parks and Recreation), comedians, musicians, and mothers who brought nationwide attention to the league that could.
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Win!
Section: Spotlight
Directed and written by Justin Webster. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary.
With inside access to the players, decision makers, and supporters who were central to the formation of New York City Football Club and its historic inaugural season, Win! offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to build a Major League Soccer team from the ground up, in the country’s most competitive sports market. In English, Spanish with subtitles.
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O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA, dir. Ezra Edelman.

Tribeca Talks - Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival Conversations, sponsored by Mohegan Sun

Elections and "Scandal"
Debuting their latest Elections short documentary, A More Perfect Union, Nate Silver (FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief), Micah Cohen (FiveThirtyEight politics editor) and guests discuss how the Rev. Wright revelations affected the 2008 Democratic primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, how the media handled the story, and what lessons the episode holds for the 2016 election.
DATE: Wednesday, April 20
TIME: 2:30 p.m.
LOCATION: SVA2
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A More Perfect Union, directed by Eric Drath. (USA) – World Premiere.
From the discovery of Reverend Jeremiah Wright's inciting sermons to Obama's "A More Perfect Union" speech, this short film uses interviews, archives, and a timeline to illustrate the behind-the-scenes drama during a make-or-break moment in the 2008 presidential campaign.
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O.J.: Made in America with Ezra Edelman and TheUndefeated.com
O.J. Simpson remains one of the most resonant figures in American history. Undefeated.com editor in chief Kevin Merida moderates a discussion with the film’s director Ezra Edelman, managing editor Raina Kelley and senior culture writer Kelley Carter about ESPN Films' O.J.: Made in America and its attempt to make sense of both the racial context surrounding the trial 20 years ago, and a life and career still being debated today.
DATE: Sunday, April 24
TIME: 5:30 p.m.
LOCATION: SVA 2
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Tribeca Tune In: O.J.: Made in America marathon miniseries screening
(Director: Ezra Edelman) — This is the story of O.J. Simpson, one of the most polarizing people of the 20th century, and the city in which he lived for much of his life, Los Angeles. The film explores Simpson's rise and fall, centered around two of America's greatest fixations—race and celebrity. Screened in its entirety with breaks, food, and drink included.
Saturday 4/23, 11:00 AM, Regal 8
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A.C. Green in A.C. GREEN: IRON VIRGIN, part of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival's Sports Shorts program.

Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival: Sports Shorts
Sponsored by Mohegan Sun
Skaters, ballers, and boxers populate this nonfiction program that celebrates the power of a great sports story.
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Porzingod, directed and written by Conor Byrne. (USA) – World Premiere.
A prayer for the New York Knicks.

Gonzo @ the Derby, directed by Michael D. Ratner. (USA) – World Premiere.
In 1970, writer Hunter S. Thompson and illustrator Ralph Steadman covered the Kentucky Derby for Scanlan's Monthly. The resulting article, "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved," marked the beginnings of gonzo journalism. Gonzo @ the Derby looks at the article and the lasting impact on media and sports journalism.

The Boxer (El Púgil), directed and written by Angel Manuel Soto. (Puerto Rico) – World Premiere.
El Púgil (The Boxer) narrates the rags to riches story of the super feather underdog Angel "Tito" Acosta, "El Púgil," a young Puerto Rican boxer from the slums of Barrio Obrero, Puerto Rico, and his ordeal to becoming World Champion. In Spanish with subtitles.

A.C. Green: Iron Virgin, directed by Isaac Feder. (USA) – World Premiere.
A.C. Green, Showtime Laker and reigning Iron Man of the NBA, doing the dirty work every night for 1,192 straight games—more consecutive games than any player in NBA history. But, it wasn't just his durability that separated AC from his NBA brethren: he was a proud virgin, who was saving himself for marriage.

The Best Last Best Plane Ride Ever, directed by James Blagden. (USA) – World Premiere.
In October of 1986, the NY Mets beat the Houston Astros in the NLCS in one of the most dramatic series of the decade. This film recreates their post-game airplane celebration: three hours of unbridled chaos resulting in an airplane interior that was almost completely destroyed.

Skateboarding's First Wave, directed by Don Burgess, written by Ed Buhr. (USA) – New York Premiere.
A look at the early days of skateboarding culture in Southern California and the group of kids that would shape its role across American media and society.

2 Fists Up, directed by Spike Lee. (USA) – World Premiere.
An examination of how the Black Lives Matter movement sparked a sense of activism within the University of Missouri, its football team, and the rest of the United States.

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