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ESPN Films Launches With ‘Black Magic’

March 14, 2008 10:52 AM

The debut of ESPN’s two-part, four-hour film “Black Magic” this week is the first production of new division ESPN Films, the latest initiative from the company to bolster its array of programming features into the next decade.

Fancy talk from the sports channel or a creative outlet for filmmakers?

Judging by the powerful story told in “Black Magic,” the answer lies in the strong grassroots connection that lies between sports and society.

“The division was part of [Executive VP of Content] John Skipper’s vision for the whole group,” said Keith Clinkscales, senior VP of content and enterprises for ESPN, who noted the new division has two mandates: develop for theatrical releases and develop for the channel. “He felt that there were stories to be told that weren’t just great sports stories but also awesome American stories. ‘Black Magic’ is an example of that.”

The film examines the experiences of players and coaches at historically black colleges and universities from the civil rights era to the present day. The film’s creators sifted through more than 200 hours of footage of classic moments.

“It begins with a great story and examines how sports transposes the entire world of civil rights and what the entire country was going through at the time,” said Mr. Clinkscales. “The discussions of integration and segregation made for a really rich and deep story.”

“Black Magic” marks the first of 10 ESPN Films-branded projects set to air in 2008. Other previously announced titles include “The Zen of Bobby V,” about Major League Baseball player and manager Bobby Valentine; “Hellfighters,” about an against-all-odds Harlem high school football team; “Bud Greenspan: At the Heart of the Games,” about the documentary filmmaker; and “The Streak,” which chronicles the 2007-08 season of the Brandon High School wrestlers and their 34-year win streak. Each of the titles will be televised this spring.

In addition, ESPN Films announced a celebration of the last three decades of sports timed to coincide with ESPN’s 30th anniversary in September 2009. In a project dubbed “30/30,” the company invited 30 filmmakers to each tell a sports-themed story. The one-hour films will begin airing Tuesday nights on ESPN in September 2009 and be televised through 2010. The filmmaker roster will be announced in the coming weeks and will include industry veterans as well as celebrities who share a passion for sports.

“Every sports event is storytelling in real time,” Dick Cook, chairman of the Walt Disney Studios, said when the project was announced. “There’s drama in every encounter, as millions witnessed so vividly during this year’s Super Bowl. So it’s no surprise that sports lend themselves especially well to the stories we tell on the screen, in such hit films as ‘The Mighty Ducks,’ ‘Remember the Titans’ and ‘The Rookie.’ I’m thrilled that sports-themed films will now have their own label at Disney and ESPN. We believe this represents a big score for sports fans and moviegoers alike.”


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Comments (27)

LaVonne Fox:

can I purchase this?

F. Maldonado:

ditto, is this historic dvd available for purchase?

D.Reaves :

Didn't see in it's entirety.
What I did see,I was blown away.
Will it re-run,or how can I obtain.

R Downs:

Hopefully it will be available for purchase or shown again. It's a historic piece!!!!

BETTYE A THOMAS:

I AM SO VERY SORRY THAT I MISSED THE INITIAL PRESENTATION OF THIS DOCUMENTARY. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHEN IT WILL RE-BROADCAST. I HAVE HEARD NOTHING BUT RAVE REVIEWS FROM MY FRIENDS THAT CAUGHT IT. IF IT WILL NOT BE RE-BROADCAST, COULD I PURCHASE A COPY OF IT?

THANK YOU.
BETTYE

michel harrington:

YES! YES! YES! how may we purchase copies of the show? the we are all my students in PG countyy maryland...

Big E:

For those of you that didn't catch the 1st part ESPN will re-air parts 1 & 2 this Thursday & Friday and again on March 25th & 26th. I have it on DVR and will watch again tonight with my 10yr old son who loves basketball.

Mark Lappen:

How Can I purchase "Black Magic"

"J" Saeger:

I didn't see whole thing. I would love ot buy or see it in an entire format. How can I do this?

ALAN THOMAS:

I JUST WANT TO THANK YOU FOR TELLING THIS GREAT STORY. I AM A FORMER STREETBALLER AND SEMI-PRO PLAYER FROM PHILLY. AS A YOUNG MAN IN THE MID 70'S I PLAYED IN THE SONY HILL LEAGUE. I ALWAYS WONDERED WERE MANY OF THE GREAT COACHES AND PLAYERS CAME FROM, NOW I KNOW. THIS KNOWLEDGE IS SOMETHING I WILL PASS ON TO MY 7YR OLD SON. PLEASE PUT THIS ON DVD!!!!!!!!

Dave Pendarvis:

How do I purchase a copy of this awesome broadcast?

Tom:

A magnificent presentation, but I was surprised that nowhere in the presentation was Will Robinson mentioned; he was the first black head coach at a division 1 school, Illinois State, and was Doug Collins' college coach. I still would like to purchase several copies of this production. Will, a graduate of West Virginea State, will be 97 this June and is in failing health.

Meredith Walker:

How do I purchase or see this movie again; I have a co-worker who wants it for her teenage son.

andrea leatherman:

How can i purchase a copy of black magic?

sharon wright:

My husband and I were deeply affected by what we saw and heard. We want our sons and grandchildren to see this. Where can we buy black magic?

Willie Bridges:

How can I purchase a copy of Black Magic?

Sonja B. Green:

I think this should be a part of athletic programs in all high schools.

WHERE MAY I PURCHASE A COPY?

Adrienne:

how do we purchase the DVD??? did anyone get an answer???

Make sure you purchase our dvd which also deals with race in America. We however tackle Black Bike Week held in Myrtle Beach SC. We have 600,000 subscribers and viewers watching clips on Youtube. A must have. It will be availble for purchase on March 24, 2008. Email the link to everyone you know. http://www.createspace.com/239697

mc goodman:

where can the public buy a copy of this or when will you play it again

Deborah Knight:

This program was awesome. The young players now need to see this. They act like they invented the game. This should be required viewing for all the young African
American players out there. I truly believe that they need to honor those that paved the way for them. Is this available for purchase?

Robert Coalson:

What is the answer to the dozens of questions about purchasing a DVD of this film?

Dr Philip Rogers:

The production was remarkable. Every American student of whatever discipline must see this historical document. As an educator I am in need of such historical resources for my classroom. When the DVD is available I would like to purchase several copies and order some for our college library and several departments. Great job, ESPN. Keep them coming.

Richard Dukes:

What is the answer to the dozens of questions about purchasing a DVD of this film?

Lisa deBos:

I read that it is supposed to be available on DVD in October 2008...amazing film, everyone should watch it

Dana:

The expected release date is October 2008 and you can purchase the DVD at www.espnshop.com

Leslie Stoutemire:

I loved the movie & everyone wants to know will it air on TV again? Also will it reallybe on DVD in oct. for sale, if possible, please let me know.
Keep up the good work ESPN. (GREAT)

Leslie

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