SONY ESPN Channels Bring Award-Winning ESPN Films Documentaries to India

ESPN and Sony Pictures Network will present the ambitious and Award-winning ESPN Films documentaries on SONY ESPN and SONY ESPN HD channels, beginning November 27.

Appearing for the first time in India, the critically-acclaimed, Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series of documentaries brings Indian viewers a thoughtful and innovative examination of the sports world, its characters, events and intersections with society at large, whose stories are told by incredible filmmakers partnered with ESPN.

The debut also offers another example of the power of the SONY ESPN collaboration, highlighting that it not only delivers the best in live sports, but the most innovative, high-quality sports-related storytelling and original programming to Indian viewers.

ESPN Films documentaries are more than sports stories – they are the affecting and compelling stories that touch upon broad topics through the lens of sport. With topics ranging from Nelson Mandela’s embrace of the 1995 Rugby World Cup as a force for racial unity, to the rise and fall of Pablo and Andres Escobar during the “Narco-Soccer” era in Colombia, to the bravado and fool hearty courage of Muhammad Ali in his twilight, fighting to hold on to greatness – the range and poignancy of stories is timeless and will appeal to any Indian viewer who loves great storytelling.

Credited with revitalizing and revolutionizing the art of sports documentary, ESPN Films projects are brought to life by a roster of gifted filmmakers collaborating with ESPN.  Among those who have created films for the series are Jeff & Michael Zimbalist, Clifford Bestall, Albert Maysles, Barry Levinson, Bradley Kaplan, Brett Ratner, Spike Jonze, John Singleton, Brian Koppleman, Michael Rappaport, Daniel Gordon, Alex Gibney, Eric Drath, Ezra Edelman and many more.

The series will debut in India with The Two Escobars – directed by the Zimbalists, it tells the tale of two men named Escobar: Andrés, the captain and poster child of the National Team, and Pablo, the infamous drug baron who pioneered the phenomenon known in the underworld as "Narco-soccer."

Following that, on Dec. 4, the series continues with The 16th Man – directed by Bestall, and narrated by Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman, it tells the emotional story of Mandela, the cornerstone moment of the 1995 Rugby World Cup and what it meant to South Africa’s post-apartheid healing process. The film, which illustrates how a game can be bigger than just sport and serve as a binding force among people, was previewed for a select audience as part of a special screening held at The Walt Disney Company offices in Mumbai, today.

The series will continue every Sunday on SONY ESPN and SONY ESPN HD channels at 12 noon.

Mr. Ramesh Kumar, Vice President, Head of ESPN India and South Asia said, “Part of what has always distinguished ESPN is that we do not only cover the games, we cover the ‘Game around the Game’ and we do it as storytellers.  We are delighted to introduce these award-winning and critically acclaimed films to fans in India on the SONY ESPN channels.  These films go beyond sports and engage viewers with compelling, often unknown or previously unseen, narratives that capture the power, emotion and poignancy of sports in our lives.”

"These series of films are powerful stories that are inspiring, moving and insightful. They transcend the idea of just sports and are meaningful stories that engage us universally at a human level.  This is rich, unprecedented content which appeals to sports fans as well those passionate about films. ESPN's commitment to serve sports fans has been the driving force behind this series and now Indian fans and viewers can enjoy these amazing and enriching documentaries" said Jasdeep Pannu, Head of ESPN India Television Initiatives.

Commenting on the launch, Mr. Prasana Krishnan, EVP & Business Head, Sports Cluster, Sony Pictures Network India, said “Some of the most inspiring stories in the world have come from sports. We are showcasing a curated collection of award-winning ESPN Films documentary series for the first time in India that is sure to appeal to both die-hard sports fans as well as people that don't know how much about sports. The ESPN films are a differentiated offering from SONY ESPN channels that comprise legendary human interest stories that will give our viewers an opportunity to relive some of the greatest moments in the history of sports. As a sports network, we hope that our viewers will get inspired by the strength of the human spirit that they will experience with these films and live through the magic of sports.”

ESPN Films launched in March 2008 and has been an industry leader in documentary filmmaking since its inception, producing more than 100 documentaries that have showcased some of the most compelling stories in sports.


India is a key part of ESPN’s growth – in the Asia-Pacific region and globally – and its presence in the country is powered by the potent combination of ESPN’s leadership in digital sports and its long-term SONY ESPN collaboration with Sony Pictures Networks India.

Serving the massive and vibrant sports fan community with entertaining, insightful and high-quality products and content, across digital devices and television, is at the core of ESPN’s strategy in India and the subcontinent. With offices in Bangalore and Mumbai, it boasts a world-class team that includes technologists, developers, editors, journalists and more that make up ESPN’s largest technology and digital editorial teams outside the United States.

ESPNcricinfo, already the ultimate destination for authentic, unbiased cricket news, analysis, statistics and scores, continues serving Indian cricket fans as it has for over 23 years.


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