The latest batch of ESPN's 30 for 30 documentaries have been officially announced and scheduled for the fall, and like always, there are some that look absolutely phenomenal. The first film will premiere on Tuesday, October 1 at 8 PM, and will continue in the same timeslot for six weeks.
October 1. Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau. This film will examine the tragic life of Hawaiian surfer Eddie Aikau, and is directed by Sam George.
October 8. Free Spirits. This one is going to look at the Spirits of St Louis leading into the NBA/ABA merger, and how the team is still existing and making money for their owners today. It's directed by Daniel H. Forer.
October 15. No Mas. The name should tell you all you need to know about this documentary: a look behind the scenes of the two fights between Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard. The director is Eric Drath.
October 22. Big Shot. Hey, another hockey documentary! Big Shot will break down the scandal involving John Spano's attempted purchase of the Islanders in 1996, and is directed by Kevin Connolly.
October 29. This is What They Want. Jimmy Connors' miraculous run in the 1991 US Open is examined, and is directed by Brian Koppleman and David Levien.
November 5. Tonya and Nancy. This is another one where the title makes it obvious what the subject matter will be: the incident between figure skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding in 1994. The director is Nanette Burstein.
It's a pretty solid crop of documentaries (as usual), and the only ones that don't immediately appeal to me are Hawaiian and This is What They Want. Drath previously directed the Renee 30 for 30 along with the 30 for 30 short about Pete Rose, but all of the other directors this go-around are newbies to the franchise.
Nothing has been announced for the traditional post-Heisman ceremony slot yet, but it's rumored that a film on former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett will be featured. The college documentaries in that timeslot (The U, Pony Excess, You Don't Know Bo) are generally the most entertaining of the 30 for 30 films, and hopefully this year's selection will continue that trend.
@NJRedman Living on the island of Oahu the Eddie Aikua story is esily the most compelling for me. For mainlanders who may not be familiar with the person:
Eddie Aikau was a pioneer of big wave surfing taking on the 30+ foot waves of Oahu's (Honolulu, Hawaii) North Shore on relatively primative boards compared to other contemporay big wave surfers. But having gorwn up in Hawaii he knew the waters and made a name for himself.
So much so he persuaded Honolulu county to appoint him the first ever lifegaurd of the North Shore. He saved hundreds of lives as surfing became mainstream in pop-culture, and tourists flocked to North Shore riding waves they had no business riding.
Sadly, however, Eddie's life fell short in a tragedy at sea. Eddie was taking part in a recreation of ancient polynesian sailing from Hawaii to Tahiti. They recontructed an ancient style rigger and set sail south from hawaii. But shortly into the journy the primative vessel was capsized by a white squall 20 miles out to sea. While the others clung to the boat awaiting rescue, Eddie insisted on taking his surfboard and paddling through the storm for help. He was never seen again.
A friend of mine saw 'Big Shot' at the Tribeca Film Festival and said it was very good. Excited for another hockey doc.
Hopefully Free Spirits gets that ridiculous contract the former owners have thrown out. The Pacers, Spurs, Nets, and Nuggets have to give 1/7th of their TV revenue to the former owners. Every season, forever.
I hope "Free Spirits" includes the story about Marvin Barnes not wanting to board a flight from Louisville to St. Louis. The flight departed Louisville at 8:45 and arrived in St. Louis at 8:30, because of the time change.
Barnes' quote, "I ain't getting on no time machine."
Another good one, "Game time IS on time."
This is What They Want is going to be awesome. I loved that Connors run. He had the Flushing Meadows faithful oohing and awwing with every swing of his racket and fist pump.