Where Film Meets Sports

Our TFI ESPN Short Documentary Workshop took place earlier this month, and brought together our newly-minted grantees with industry experts! The two-day workshop helped each team elevate their projects through master classes and group discussions focused on directing, editing and producing documentary shorts. The workshop also provided resources to the participating filmmakers, to plan out their festival and distribution strategies. Throughout the two days, the filmmakers were able to receive in-depth notes on their project - and the workshop culminated in a screening where each filmmaker had the opportunity to present their most recent assemblies.

Day One started with each project screening footage for group feedback and discussion, followed by one-on-one meetings with our team of mentors, including producer Caitlin Mae Burke (NUTS!, OBIT, WE COULD BE KING), Academy Award-nominated documentarian Laura Checkoway (EDITH+EDDIE), award-winning director and editor Caitlyn Greene (THE JINX, WHEN LAMBS BECOME LIONS), Tribeca Film Festival Shorts Programmer Ben Thompson and Emmy Award-winning and two-time Spirit Award-nominated director, writer, and producer Lana Wilson (THE DEPARTURE, AFTER TILLER).

On Day Two, participants were treated to a Directing the Documentary master class conducted by Lana Wilson. Lana revealed the process of directing her feature THE DEPARTURE from the inception of the idea through the final stages of the edit. The focus was then shifted to the current distribution landscape in the documentary field with TFI’s Amy Hobby and Mridu Chandra (Director, IF/Then Program) joining Caitlin Mae Burke. In the afternoon, programmer Ben Thompson gave participants a window into the curation process of shorts at Tribeca Film Festival, and filmmaker Laura Checkoway wrapped up the day by screening her Academy Award nominated short doc, EDDIE+EDITH, and discussing the journey that her project took, from the development stage all the way to the Oscars.

Be sure to keep an eye out for these TFI/ESPN doc shorts!


THE BOXERS OF BRULE
Directed by Jessie Adler
Shaionna, a young Lakota woman, creates a girls’ boxing team to combat the youth suicide epidemic threatening the Lower Brule Sioux Reservation. With the odds stacked against her, Shaionna must confront her own demons as she fights to bring hope and healing to her community.


LITTLE MISS SUMO
Directed by Matt Kay
Banned from competing professionally, female sumo wrestling champion Hiyori will have to retire at the age of 21. Fighting tradition, Hiyori embarks on a remarkable journey, confronting obstacles both inside and outside the ring in an attempt to help change Japan’s national sport forever.


MACK WRESTLES
Directed by Taylor Hess and Erin Sanger
Transgender wrestler Mack Beggs broke records and changed history by winning the Texas state title two years in a row. With high school ending and college on the horizon, the sports champion, national activist, and high school hero must grapple with what comes next.