ESPN Films and espnW Announce Nine for IX Shorts Documentary Series
Series preview "Love & Payne," directed by Hannah Storm, debuts today
ESPN Films and espnW will launch a new short documentary series, Nine for IX Shorts, this July. A preview of the series, titled "Love & Payne" and directed by ESPN's Hannah Storm, debuts today on espnW.com. The film takes a look at the legacy of golfer Payne Stewart through the eyes of his widow, Tracey.
The short film series, which will live on espnW.com, is an extension of the feature-length, Emmy-nominated, Nine for IX series that aired on ESPN last summer, focused on capturing fascinating stories of women in sports told through the lens of female filmmakers. Nine for IX Shorts will cover various sports stories including a feature on basketball star Brittney Griner, Ronda Rousey's rise to become the #1 female MMA fighter, and a look at the driving force behind autistic basketball player Jason McElwain, now known for scoring 20 points in four minutes in his high school basketball debut: his mother, Debbie.
One short film will premiere per day beginning Monday, July 28, through Friday, August 1. Robin Roberts and Jane Rosenthal will return as executive producers of the series.
"Love & Payne" debuts on espnW.com just days before the U.S. Open returns to Pinehurst No. 2, where Payne Stewart won his third and final major championship with a dramatic putt 15 years ago.
"I have known Tracey Stewart since doing an interview with her shortly after the loss of her husband," said "Love & Payne" director Hannah Storm. "At that time, and still today, I was struck by Tracey's uncommon combination of both strength and support, a wife happy to be in the background of a charismatic, talented man, who would not have achieved his personal or professional success without her. As a filmmaker, I wanted to portray the relationship that helped bring Payne Stewart to his highest point of achievement and contentment, just before he was taken from this earth. 'Love & Payne' is, above all, a love story that resonates beyond the tragedy, beyond golf; one that I hope will touch and inspire those who watch the film. "
· "Love & Payne"
· Hannah Storm Director's Statement
"Rowdy Ronda Rousey," "Think Normal," "Brittney Griner: Lifesize," "Uncharted Waters" and "Play A Round With Me" will make their world premiere at the 2014 LA Film Festival on June 17. All Nine for IX Shorts will air back-to-back in a two-hour block on Saturday, August 2, at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Nine for IX Shorts summaries:
"Love & Payne" Directed by Hannah Storm
espnW Premiere: Wednesday, June 4
Through memories, family videos, personal photos, Tracey Stewart (Payne's widow) will give audiences a glimpse at the story of a once in a lifetime love, a shattering loss, and the legacy of a man who, in the final year of his life, achieved his greatest professional fulfillment and personal peace. Payne Stewart's voice will appear through archival materials, but ultimately Tracey will trace their story from that first fateful meeting, to Payne's transformative years, to his tragic death, and ultimately his legacy as a father, champion and husband. It will be a personal, poignant, rare look at Payne Stewart and the powerful connection behind his success as a golfer and a man.
"Rowdy Ronda Rousey" Directed by the Mundo Sisters
espnW Premiere: Monday, July 28
On February 23, 2013, Ronda "Rowdy" Rousey made history by becoming UFC's first female Bantam Weight Champion. After beating her opponent Liz Carmouche with her signature armbar, Rousey also became the #1 female MMA fighter in the world. The film will take an inside look at this record breaking fight and how Rousey is paving the way for women in the sport. We'll learn about Rousey's rough childhood and how it shaped her fighting career. The film will also explore the extreme physical challenges and emotional strength behind becoming the world's greatest female fighter.
"Think Normal" Directed by Nikki Reed
espnW Premiere: Tuesday, July 29
Jason McElwain's 20 points in four minutes inspired sports fans around the world and fine-tuned the conversation surrounding people diagnosed with autism. But it was the perseverance and undeterred support of Jason's mother, Debbie, who coached her son and provided him with the strength and confidence to step onto his high school basketball court and hit six 3-pointers, and one 2-pointer in four minutes of play. Featuring heartfelt interviews from Jason, his mother Debbie and his brother Josh, "Think Normal" is a look at what a mother sacrificed for her sons.
"Brittney Griner: Lifesize" Directed by Melissa Johnson
espnW Premiere: Wednesday, July 30
This is a rite of passage story following Brittney's inaugural season with the Zhejiang Golden Bulls. Director Melissa Johnson will collaborate with espnW's Kate Faagen to chronicle not only Brittney's transformation from amateur to professional but also from a celebrated kid with unlimited potential to a self-reliant adult with a deep inner capacity to make her championship dreams a reality. Blazing with authenticity, humor and irreverence, this story about the courage it takes to become everything that's you -- in the biggest, boldest way imaginable -- is certain to delight and inspire.
"Uncharted Waters" Directed by Tina Carbone
espnW Premiere: Thursday, July 31
In 1995, Bill Koch put together the first ever all-women America's Cup team. Made up of top female athletes from across the country, the team made history onboard America3 and inspired fans across the country. But the team morale faltered after a series of changes were made including a new boat they weren't use to, the replacement of a female team member with a male, and a last-minute rule change that allowed three teams to make it to the finals instead of two. In the last race of the Defender Series, the Mighty Mary lost their lead and rival Stars & Stripes beat them to the finish line.
"Play A Round With Me" Directed by Jessica Wolfson
espnW Premiere: Friday, August 1
In the 1980's, Jan Stephenson became professional golf's first tabloid star, shaking up the game with her sex appeal and charismatic self-promotion. Amid intense media attention, Stephenson's colorful and controversial life off the course often overshadowed her fierce determination to win championships. This film follows a tense year where, against all odds, Jan Stephenson tried to prove she was more just a pretty face.
About ESPN Films
Created in March 2008, ESPN Films produces high-quality films showcasing some of the most compelling stories in sports. In October 2009, ESPN Films launched the Peabody Award-winning, Producer's Guild Award-winning and Emmy-nominated 30 for 30 film series. Inspired by ESPN's 30th Anniversary, the films that made up the series were a thoughtful and innovative reflection on the past three decades told through the lens of diverse and interesting sports fans and social commentators. The strong reaction from both critics and fans led to the launch of 30 for 30 Volume II, which is currently underway. Additional projects from ESPN Films include the critically-acclaimed Nine for IX series, SEC Storied and the webby award-winning 30 for 30 Shorts.
espnW's mission is to serve women as fans and athletes. espnW.com provides an engaging environment that offers total access to female athletes and the sports they play, takes fans inside the biggest events, and shares a unique point of view on the sports stories that matter most to women.
Founded in July, 2010, espnW lives across television, films, events, digital and social platforms. The annual espnW: Women + Sports Summit is the leading event of its kind in the sports industry. The Women's Sports Foundation is a charity of choice for espnW.