By Kimberly Potts
ESPN Films has announced the return of its “30 for 30” sports documentary series, with a second season that will be accompanied by the launch of a series of 30 short films that will debut at sportswriting website Grantland.com.
The “30 for 30” series debuted in 2009 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of ESPN. The first documentary shown — “Kings Ransom” — was directed by actor/filmmaker Peter Berg and revolved around the 1988 trade of NHL superstar Wayne Gretzky from Edmonton to Los Angeles.
The “30 for 30” series also included entries directed by Barry Levinson, Ice Cube, Morgan Freeman, John Singleton and Oscar winner Barbara Kopple, and the 30th installment, “Pony Excess,” aired in December 2010 and retold the story of the SMU football program and its two-year death penalty for NCAA infractions.
“30 for 30” season two documentaries will include “Broke,” about the all-too-frequent post-career financial downfalls of pro athletes; “Bo Knows,” about all-star pro football and baseball player Bo Jackson (pictured above left); and “The Season of Their Lives,” about the 1982-83 NCAA basketball championship season of Jim Valvano and the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
“’30 for 30′ was conceived as a finite collection and when the original series ended in December of 2010 with ‘Pony Excess,’ we had underestimated the strength of the connection fans had made between sports documentaries and the ’30 for 30′ brand,” ESPN Films vice president Connor Schell said in a statement. “We’re proud to have created a brand that has become synonymous with quality sports storytelling and we see value in bringing back a second collection of 30 films.”
“30 for 30 Vol. II” is scheduled to premiere in October, while “30 for 30 Shorts,” a 30-part digital short film series, will debut at Grantland.com in September.
The first “30 for 30 Shorts” entry, “Here Now,” revolves around disgraced Major League Baseball player Pete Rose and can be watched at Grantland.com now.
Grantland editor Bill Simmons is the co-creator and producer for the “30 for 30” TV series.
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