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Kevin Connolly film on John Spano highlights Tribeca/ESPN

"Entourage" stars Kevin Connolly, left, a Long Island native, and Adrian Grenier speak during The Television Critics Association 2011 Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills, Calif. (July 28, 2011) Credit: AP

The seventh Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival opens next week, highlighted by the much-anticipated premiere of Kevin Connolly’s “Big Shot,’’ about the brief-but-notorious reign of John Spano as the Islanders’ owner.

But that is only one of nine sports-related films that will be shown, four of which are from the “Nine for IX’’ series that is part of the network’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of Title IX.

The “Nine for IX’’ movies include one on Pat Summitt that was produced by Robin Roberts and directed by Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern Winters, identical twins who grew up in Port Washington, as well as “Let Them Wear Towels’’ about the early fights over locker room access by female sportswriters.

“They actually for the first time in 40 years made me feel that insecurity that I had then, that nervousness,’’ Lesley Visser, a pioneer among women sportswriters, told me, referring to the filmmakers.

“They made me think in 1976 what it was like to go to the Patriots and you didn’t have a camera or a producer; it was just you, your notepad and your mind.’’

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