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The New York Knicks are one of basketball’s most storied franchises but they haven’t won an NBA title since 1973. Celebrity fans like Spike Lee, Woody Allen, and screenwriter William Goldman worshipped the star-studded — but team-first — Knicks teams of that championship era, and a generation of aging sportswriters refuse to let those hardwood legends die. Actor Michael Rapaport was only three years old when the Knicks won their last title, but he’s turned his yearning for those glory years into a documentary, When the Garden was Eden.
Rapaport’s movie, which is also part of Espn’s “30 for 30″ series, »
- Jeff Labrecque
The world premiere of the 30 For 30 documentary marking actor Michael Rapaport’s feature directorial debut will kick off the Tribeca/Espn Sports Film Festival on April 17.
Each of the Tribeca/Espn Sports Film Festival films will screen throughout the festival and every one will screen again on April 26.
The Tribeca/Espn Sports Film Festival sponsored by Mohegan Sun will present a series of free, sports-related games and activities on Sports Day under the umbrella of the Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair on April 26.
The Tribeca Film Festival will run from April 16-27.
Tribeca/Espn Sports Film Festival
Synopses adapted from those provided by the festival.
When The Garden Was Eden (Us), dir Michael Rapaport.
Actor Michael Rapaport delivers his love letter to the Knicks in a fast-paced »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
The first man to play Captain Video — the Guardian of the Safety of the World! — in the early days of television died today in Los Angeles. Richard Coogan was 99. He starred on the first two seasons of Captain Video And His Video Rangers, the popular low-budget space opera that premiered in 1949 on the DuMont Network. The future-set series aired for a half-hour Monday through Friday, also on Saturdays in 1950, with a reported prop budget of 25 bucks a week. The jut-jawed Coogan played a scientific genius who invented radical weapons and led a vast network of defenders of good. The program was a favorite of The Honeymooners‘ Ralph Cramden and Ed Norton, who were card-carrying members of the Captain Video Space Rangers fan club. After leaving Captain Video, the New Jersey native starred on the CBS soap Love Of Life and toplined late-’50s Gold Rush drama The Californians. He also »
- THE DEADLINE TEAM
2014 is now in full swing, the Sundance Film Festival has closed its doors, and film festivals like South by Southwest and Tribeca are generating more buzz for the year’s noteworthy indie narratives and documentaries. In recent years, documentaries such as Restrepo, Gasland, and Searching For Sugarman went on to become heavyweights. This year’s contenders include topics taken from popular memoirs and biographies, along with subject matter pertaining to youths and youth culture. Below, you’ll find a comprehensive list of Sundance and non-Sundance documentaries to keep an eye out for this year, equipped with official synopsis and trailer when available. 2014 is shaping out to a versatile year in the documentary world, ranging from heavy-handed family dramas such as Tracy Droz Tragos’ and Andrew Droz Palermo’s Rich Hill, to baseball biographies such as Chapman and Maclain Way’s The Battered Bastards of Baseball and Jeff Radice’s No No A Dockumentary, »
- Christopher Clemente
TV directors never seem to get much attention. It’s always the writers and showrunners who get the credit – people like J.J. Abrams, Aaron Sorkin, Dan Harmon, and Joss Whedon. They’re seen as the helmsmen of TV, the ones who keep the ship righted. But directors?
It doesn’t help that most of the big name directors stick to film. Or so you thought. Actually, famous directors do TV episodes far more often than you’d think. Some got their start there, like Robert Altman with multiple TV shows, including Bonanza and U.S. Marshall, or Steven Spielberg with Marcus Welby, M.D. and Columbo. And, of course, certain directors had pet projects in T.V., like David Lynch’s eerily offbeat Twin Peaks.
In recent years, in the so-called “Golden Age” of television, more famous directors are coming to the small screen. You think you »
- Josh Hamm
The docu short, produced, written and directed by Fresco and Denis Sanders, traced Czech history from Wwi to the Prague Spring uprising of 1968. Much of the archival footage in the film had been smuggled out of then-Communist Czechoslovakia.
For public television in 1970, Fresco and Sanders produced the six-hour documentary “Trial: The City and County of Denver vs. Lauren R. Watson,” about the criminal case against a Black Panther Party member. At the time, only a few states including Colorado allowed cameras in the courtroom, and the docu is considered, as the New York Times described it, “the first complete account of a trial to be shown on American television.”
Robert Maurice Fresco was born in Burbank, Calif., to a family »
- Variety Staff
By Alex Simon
If you’re a guy of a certain age (think Gen X), Kurt Russell was that actor you discovered as a child who wasn’t just a familiar face on the big and small screen, he was your buddy you grew up with. Not a peer, necessarily, but the cool, slightly older kid who lived next door who you just knew, if you played your cards right, you might grow up to be: handsome, self-assured in sports, with girls and in your place on the planet. Especially if you could hang out with him on a regular basis and learn the tricks to his magic, and magic was something Kurt Russell had from the beginning.
- The Hollywood Interview.com
The man who played the patriarch on CBS’ long-running series The Waltons has died. Ralph Waite was 86. He starred for nine seasons on the Depression-era drama as John Walton Sr., who eked out a living at the family lumber mill on Walton’s Mountain. He also directed more than a dozen episodes of the hourlong series, which ran from 1972-81 and was followed by a series of telefilms. He scored an Emmy nom for the role in 1978. Waite’s acting credits date to the mid-1960s, appearing in TV series including Bonanza and N.Y.P.D. and later as slave ship mate Slater in the landmark miniseries Roots, a key supporting role that earned Waite his first Emmy nom. He also worked on the big screen, including roles in the classic films as Cool Hand Luke and Five Easy Pieces. After The Waltons, Waite worked regularly in TV and film. The White Plains, »
- THE DEADLINE TEAM
I know that the Sundance Film Festival ended over a week ago, but in the six days I was at Sundance (and on screeners in the days before), I saw 25 movies. I wrote full reviews for 13 of them. My Full Sundance reviews: 'The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz' "The Overnighters" "Rudderless" "Fed Up" "Marmato" "Love Child" "Land Ho!" "The Voices" "Happy Valley" "My Prairie Home" "Life Itself" "Mitt" "Web Junkie" But that left 12 movies that I just didn't have the time to write my usual 1000-to-1750 words on. Since getting back from Park City, I've been slowly working my way through capsule reviews for those 12 movies. These are roughly the length of my Take Me To The Pilots entries, which means that in this format, people are going to complain about all of the text and the lack of paragraphs. Sorry. Because I'm just one part of HitFix's awesome Sundance team, »
- Daniel Fienberg
Richard is survived by his wife of 66 years, actress Barbara Collentine, whom he married in 1948. Richard had been living with Barbara in his hometown of Chicago before his death, although he died in Calabasas, Calif. at the Motion Picture Television Fund campus. Richard’s Little House co-stars took to Twitter to remember him after learning about his death on Feb. 4.
This man will be missed. Goodbye »
The Hollywood actor on the success of the boisterous documentary about his father's ramshackle baseball team, which debuted to wild applause at Sundance – and why he's delighted to be preserving Russell Sr's maverick legacy
Bing Russell was a B-movie actor in the 50s and 60s who estimated he had been shot dead 127 times in Hollywood westerns and played the deputy sheriff through 13 seasons of Bonanza. But his most lasting legacy came thanks to his role as the founder and frontman of the Portland Mavericks, an independent baseball team inhabited by no-hopers and has-beens and a pitcher whose hat fell off each time he threw the ball. Incredibly, the Mavericks went on to break attendance records and posed a serious threat to their major league rivals.
This forgotten nugget of sporting history has now been unearthed in a boisterous documentary, The Battered Bastards of Baseball, which debuted to wild applause at the Sundance film festival. »
- Xan Brooks
They say you can’t fight City Hall, but surely going mano-a-mano with Major League Baseball is none the wiser. Yet that’s exactly what a charismatic entrepreneur named Bing Russell did in the 1970s, when he started a fully independent single-a ball club in Portland, Ore., that started out as a laughingstock and ended up as a righteous bee in Mlb’s bonnet. This stirring, little-remembered episode of baseball history has been lovingly brought to the screen by co-directors Chapman and Maclain Way in “The Battered Bastards of Baseball,” a fast-paced valentine to Russell and his quixotic vision so rife with underdog victors and hairpin twists of fortune that, if it weren’t all true, no one would believe it. Unsurprisingly, the docu’s remake rights were snapped up at Sundance by Justin Lin’s production company, with helmer Todd Field (real-life former batboy for Russell’s team) attached to direct. »
- Scott Foundas
One of the more talked-about documentaries from this year’s Sundance Film Festival was The Battered Bastards of Baseball. Directed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way, the film chronicles Bonanza actor Bing Russell’s formation of the independent baseball team the Portland Mavericks and the ensuing confrontation with organized baseball. Quite a few people—including our own Matt Goldberg—were fans of the documentary, and it's incredible story led Justin Lin to purchase narrative remake rights with the intention to produce via his Perfect Storm banner. Early word has Todd Field (Little Children) in talks to write and direct, which is perfect since Field was one of the bat boys for the Mavericks and is featured in the documentary. Who better to write and direct the adaptation than someone that saw the events unfold first hand? While at Sundance, I landed an exclusive interview with the Ways and Bing Russell's son Kurt Russell, »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
It's a grim pattern, familiar enough that it's even gotten the Hollywood treatment: Eric Lawson, an actor who played the Marlboro Man in cigarette ads during the late '70s, died on Jan. 10 of a smoking-related illness - at least the fifth Marlboro Man to pass away from such circumstances. Lawson, an actor and model who had smoked since age 14, died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at the age of 72. Like other former Marlboro Men, he turned against tobacco later in life, speaking out against smoking on Entertainment Tonight and in an anti-cigarette PSA, though he did not give up »
- Nate Jones
Ever heard of a baseball team called The Mavericks? Yeah, me, neither. But if “Fast and Furious” director Justin Lin has his way, we’ll be hearing a lot about that team in a few years. The director has won remake rights to the documentary “The Battered Bastards of Baseball,” directed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way, about the creation of an independent baseball team in Portland called the Mavericks. The documentary “chronicles the story of the late Bing Russell (a Hollywood veteran best known for playing Deputy Clem on Bonanza), who in 1973 created the only independent baseball team in America at the time, the Portland Mavericks. Bing operated without Major League affiliation while playing in a city that was considered a wasteland for professional baseball. Tryouts for the Mavericks, which were open to the public, were filled with hopefuls who arrived in droves from every state in America, many »
The independent spirit is alive and well, with Justin Lin (the Fast & Furious franchise) fighting off interest from DreamWorks, Columbia Pictures and Fox Searchlight to acquire the rights to remake The Battered Bastards of Baseball, which screened to great acclaim in the Documentary Premieres section of the Sundance Film Festival on 20 January. Todd Field – who has a personal connection to the subject of the film – is now in talks to write and direct.
The Battered Bastards of Baseball details the rise of the Portland Mavericks – the only independent baseball team in America in 1973, when it was set up by Bonanza actor, and father of Kurt, Bing Russell. Many of the players for the team were rejected or retired from Major League baseball, but their independent team proved naysayers wrong by smashing attendance records and launching careers. Kurt Russell himself became a player and Vice-President of the team, while the career »
- Sarah Myles
The Mavericks lasted three years before they were pushed out of Portland by the returned of the Major League-backed Beavers.
Source: Deadline »
- Garth Franklin
I just walked out of a screening of the Sundance documentary Battered Bastards of Baseball to find that Fast Five director Justin Lin has acquired the rights to turn the story into a feature film. He will produce the film, and they are looking to hire Todd Field to write and direct the movie.
While I was watching the doc I was thinking to myself how awesome of a movie this would make, and I have to say that I'm so happy that a movie is coming. This is such a great story, and the documentary was amazing. I'm not even a fan of baseball, but this doc gave me more of an appreciation for the sport.
- Joey Paur
One of the more talked-about documentaries from this year’s Sundance Film Festival was The Battered Bastards of Baseball. Directed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way, the film chronicles Bonanza actor Bing Russell’s formation of the independent baseball team the Portland Mavericks and the ensuing confrontation with organized baseball. Quite a few people—our own Matt Goldberg included—were fans of the documentary, and Russell’s son Kurt Russell was onhand to talk about the film. News broke earlier today that Fast & Furious director Justin Lin has acquired remake rights to Battered Bastards with the intention of producing a narrative feature film adaptation for writer/director Todd Field (In the Bedroom), making Steve’s recent interview with Kurt Russell all the more relevant. During Steve’s interview with Russell earlier this week about the documentary, the actor discussed a possible narrative adaptation of the story and whether he would »
- Adam Chitwood
Sports are entertainment featuring athletic achievement, but too often they’re treated as a precious gemstone requiring constant polishing from sanctimonious sportswriters, an unremarkable commodity for owners, or both. The notion that the sport should be fun isn’t unimportant, but it does fall through the cracks. Chapman and Maclain Way’s documentary The Battered Bastards of Baseball is a potent reminder that sports can be fun and freewheeling while remaining respectable and financially successful. The film provides not only a series of enjoyable anecdotes, but also a celebration of playing for the love of the game. Actor Bing Russell grew up loving baseball, and in 1973, the Bonanza star got his chance to own a team when a vacancy opened up in Portland after the hometown Beavers were shuffled out of the city by organized baseball. While there used to be plenty of independent baseball teams, they had all disappeared »
- Matt Goldberg
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