ESPN Films is fast becoming an industry powerhouse in sports-related cinema. Following the success of its 30 for 30 series of films, and inspired by the 40th anniversary of Title IX (a 1972 education amendment, also known as the Equal Opportunity in Education Act, which states, in part, that… no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance)… ESPN Films will air a series of nine documentaries, under the label Nine for IX, in spring and summer of 2013 that will highlight women in sports – all films directed by women filmmakers.
Last fall, we told you that the 9-film series will include Venus VS, which is being directed by Ava DuVernay, described as "an in-depth documentary that explores tennis star Venus Williams’ fight for fair pay at Wimbledon."
I learned today, via a RealScreen exclusive with Connor Schell, VP and executive producer for ESPN Films and ESPN Classics, that Shola Lynch, whose latest work, Free Angela & All Political Prisoners, debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall, will also contribute a film to the series.
Lynch and DuVernay are joined by the directors of a documentary that got lots of coverage on this site – Detropia – Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, as well as Amy Berg (West of Memphis), Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern (Knuckleball!), and Alison Ellwood (History of the Eagles).
ESPN says the filmmakers are all "deep in production" currently, and will begin airing in the spring on ESPN in primetime and ABC Saturdays. The network is planning to reveal more details on each project next month.
As for what the subject of Lynch's documentary will tackle, it'll likely be on WNBA star, Sheryl Swoopes, who my research tells me will be at the center of one of the 9 doc in the series. But I could certainly be wrong.