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Spike Lee’s Kobe Doin’ Work world premiere at Tribeca

The Tribeca Film Festival today announced that the ESPN Films production of Spike Lee’s Kobe Doin’ Work will have its world premiere at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by American Express, the founding sponsor of the Festival, as the gala premiere of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival. The premiere will take place on Saturday April 25, 2009. The 2009 Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival will take place during the Tribeca Film Festival, April 22 through May 3, 2009 in lower Manhattan.

“Kobe Doin’ Work brings together the legendary New York filmmaker Spike Lee and one of the biggest names in sports today, making it the perfect film for our Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival Gala,” said Nancy Schafer, Executive Director of the Tribeca Film Festival. “The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival has become an eagerly anticipated staple of the Festival and we look forward to showing films that embody the passion and spirit of sports.”

Keith Clinkscales, senior vice president ESPN content development and enterprises, said, “We are proud to kick off the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival with a documentary showcasing not only Spike Lee's fervent love of basketball , but our collective commitment to great storytelling. Kobe Doin’ Work and the entire sports festival slate speak to the power of film and sports to inspire, motivate and transform.”

Kobe Doin’ Work takes an unprecedented look at NBA star Kobe Bryant and features the first score ever written by Grammy-winning musician Bruce Hornsby and the original song “Levitate.” During last year’s playoffs, Lee and his cinematographer, Matthew Libatique, spent the day with the Los Angeles Lakers superstar. With unlimited access to Bryant before, during and after the game, the result is a definitive portrait of one of the sport’s greatest athletes. Following its Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival premiere, Kobe Doin’ Work will be televised Saturday, May 16, at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPNHD. Click below to watch the trailer -

In its third year, the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival has become the premier showcase for independent films about sports and competition. The previously announced titles that will screen as part of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival include films that explore the Little League of NASCAR, a Swedish men’s synchronized swimming team, a baseball hero's return to his Cuban home for the first time in over 45 years and a teenage debate team from Qatar traveling for the first time to Washington D.C. to represent its country.

On Saturday May 2, 2009, all 8 films will be screening at Tribeca Cinemas for the Tribeca/ ESPN Sports Film Festival Sportsday Marathon where diehard sports film enthusiasts can see up to five of the eight films in the program in one day.

The following are the films featured in the 2009 Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival. All titles have been previously announced in their respective sections as part of the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival film program.

Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival

• Kobe Doin' Work, directed by Spike Lee. (USA) – World Premiere Documentary. With unprecedented access and utilizing 30 cameras, Spike Lee brings the audience onto the court with superstar Kobe Bryant as his Lakers battle the Spurs in a game with major playoff implications. Through pre-game prep, fast breaks, team huddles and post-game interviews, it's just another day at the office for one of the NBA's best.

• Lost Son of Havana, directed and written by Jonathan Hock. (USA) − World Premiere, Documentary. Cuban pitcher Luis Tiant never anticipated spending a half-century in exile. Torn between his career and his homeland, he went on to become one of baseball's best, heating up the mound for (among others) the Red Sox and Yankees. Director Jonathan Hock follows Tiant on his return to Cuba for the first time, capturing an inspiring and profound portrait of one of the game¹s greatest heroes. Encounters Section.

• Love the Beast, directed by Eric Bana. (Australia) − International Premiere, Documentary. Eric Bana’s directorial debut is a love story. The object of the actor’s affection? A Ford XB Falcon Coupe, his “beast,” the car he’s had since he was 15. Tracing Bana’s lifelong obsession with cars to his participation in the ultimate auto race—the five-day Targa Tasmania—this impassioned doc is fueled by family, friendship, and the bonds that form through a common passion. Encounters Section.

• A Matter of Size (Sipur Gadol), directed by Erez Tadmor and Sharon Maymon, written by Danny Cohen-Solal and Maymon. (Israel) – World Premiere, Narrative. In this touching, lighthearted comedy, an overweight, underemployed chef and three close friends abandon their weight-loss group to pursue an activity for which girth is a virtue: sumo wrestling. While training, they discover the soul of sumo, realizing that—fat or thin—love and success will only come from being true to themselves. In Hebrew with English subtitles. Discovery Section.

• Racing Dreams, directed by Marshall Curry. (USA) – World Premiere. What Little League is to baseball, go-karting is to auto racing. Oscar®-nominated director Marshall Curry (Street Fight) follows the exhilarating and emotional journeys of three top racers competing for the national championship. Three adolescents and their families must discover if they have the talent and dedication—and sponsorship dollars—to one day become NASCAR superstars. World Documentary Features Competition.

• Rudo y Cursi, directed and written by Carlos Cuarón. (USA, Mexico) − New York Premiere, Narrative. Stars Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna and producers Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy), and Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel), through their groundbreaking new company Cha Cha Cha, present a splendid, riotous film about a pair of thickheaded stepbrothers whose rivalry takes them from their jobs on a small-town banana ranch to star spots on opposing soccer teams. In Spanish with English subtitles. A Sony Pictures Classics release. Spotlight Section.

• The Swimsuit Issue (Allt flyter), directed by Måns Herngren, written by Jane Magnusson, Brian Cordray and Herngren. (Sweden) – International Premiere, Narrative. What begins as a joke turns into a new shot at glory for a group of over-the-hill athletes who decide to form Sweden’s only all-male synchronized swimming team. The less they’re taken seriously, the more determined they are to win the world championship in this fun, feel-good comedy about friendship and family. In Swedish with English subtitles. Discovery Section.

• Team Qatar, directed by Liz Mermin. (UK) – World Premiere. Equal parts competition movie and cultural examination, Team Qatar follows the first Qatari national debate team and their springy English coach as they train in Doha, London, and New York in preparation for the world championship in DC. Will this vibrant multicultural team handle the pressure and succeed on the world stage? World Documentary Features Competition.


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