My favorite annual event, the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, will feature the world premiere April 23 of director Ice Cube's "Straight Outta L.A.," chronicling the relationship between the Raiders and Los Angeles.
(The film also will appear May 11 on ESPN as part of its "30 for 30" series.)
A list entries in the sports film festival, which runs April 21 through May 1:
The Birth of Big Air, directed by Jeff Tremaine. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. In 1985, at the tender age of 13, Mat Hoffman entered into the BMX circuit as an amateur. By 16, he had soared to the top of the sport. Throughout his prodigious career, Hoffman has ignored conventional limitations; instead focusing his efforts on the purity of the sport and the pursuit of “what’s next.” Academy Award® nominee Spike Jonze and extreme sport fanatic Johnny Knoxville, along with director Jeff Tremaine, showcase the inner workings and exploits of the man who gave birth to “Big Air.” An ESPN Films “30 for 30”Presentation.
Freetime Machos, directed by Mika Ronkainen. (Finland, Germany) – North American and Tribeca Film Festival Virtual Premiere, Documentary. Matti and Mikko play for Finland’s worst amateur rugby team. Overworked and domesticated, the two men long for a space to revel in their masculinity and bond with other men. Following the two friends and their teammates on a quest to end the season with just a single win, award-winning writer/director Mika Ronkainen (Screaming Men) crafts a genuine and disarmingly funny love story of modern male friendship. In Finnish with English subtitles.
Into the Cold, directed by Sebastian Copeland. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. The absolute top of the earth is a place few try to reach on foot. Even fewer succeed. With the vast arctic ice vanishing rapidly, photographer, extreme adventurer, and environmental advocate Sebastian Copeland sets out to reach the North Pole on the centennial of Admiral Peary’s reach in 1909. This inspiring documentary follows their tumultuous two-month trek—not just through piercing cold and merciless terrain, but straight into the depths of the soul.
Keep Surfing, directed by Bjoern Richie Lob. (Germany) – International Premiere, Documentary. This kinetic and fast-paced documentary will put you right on the Eisbach in the heart of Munich, where river-surfing was invented 35 years ago. Stunningly shot with cameras literally on the surfboards, you can sense the exhilaration as they take to their boards. With cameos by surfing legends like Nick Carroll and Kelly Slater, Keep Surfing will make you want to hit the waves! In English, German with English subtitles.
Last Play at Shea, directed by Jon Small and Greg Whiteley. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. The intersecting histories of a city, a team, and a music legend are examined in Last Play at Shea, a documentary that charts both the ups and downs of the New York Mets and the career of Long Island native Billy Joel—the last performer to play Shea Stadium before its demolition in 2008. Set to the soundtrack of Joel’s final Shea concert, Last Play pays loving tribute to one of America’s most significant venues for both music and sport.
Straight Outta L.A., directed by Ice Cube. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. For rapper-turned-filmmaker Ice Cube, the emergence of gangster rap will be forever linked to the Oakland Raiders’ move to Los Angeles in 1982. Ice Cube turns the camera on himself to tell how his genre-defining group N.W.A forged an unlikely relationship with the Raiders, a team whose swagger and style captivated L.A. during their troubled 13-season stay. An ESPN Films “30 for 30” Presentation.
The Two Escobars, directed by Jeff Zimbalist, Michael Zimbalist. (Colombia, USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Born in the same city in Colombia but not related, Andrés Escobar and Pablo Escobar shared a fanatical love of soccer. Andrés grew up to become one of Colombia's most beloved players, while Pablo became the most notorious drug baron of all time. While adeptly investigating the secret marriage of crime and sports, Michael Zimbalist and Jeff Zimbalist (Favela Rising, TFF ’05) reveal the surprising connections between the murders of Andrés and Pablo. An ESPN Films “30 for 30” Presentation.