On Friday, March 9, SXSW will host a panel titled Chasing O.J.: The Race for the Next Epic Sports Film. The speakers will discuss the evolution of the sports movie and how it can be a gift or a curse for filmmakers. The panelists include Armen Keteyian (“60 Minutes”), Erin Leyden (ESPN Films), Thaddeus Matula (Double Life Films) and Chip Rives (Texas Crew Productions).
The focus of the discussion will be the Academy Award-winning “O.J. Simpson: Made in America” documentary, part of ESPN’s 30 For 30 series, and its impact on sports documentarians. The documentary is a five-part miniseries telling of the rise of the football star and actor, and his eventual demise and nationally-watched criminal trial. With the story of O.J. Simpson, the narrative of sports figures was forever changed from that of heroes and underdogs to a more nuanced view of culture and society. What – or who – will be next to have their story told this way?
Panelist Armen Keteyian has worked as a reporter for Sports Illustrated and won Emmy Awards in Sports Journalism and Overall Achievement in 1993 and 1994 for his reporting for ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” series. He is currently co-authoring a book with Jeff Benedict about Tiger Woods, due out in April 2018. Erin Leyden was a producer on “O.J. Simpson: Made in America” and the entire 30 for 30 series. Thaddeus Matula has written and directed for ESPN’s 30 for 30; he is also a documentary filmmaker from Texas. Chip Rives is a documentary producer/director/writer who has won a Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Edited Sports Series/Anthology.
These sports reporters and documentarians should have no trouble discussing the past, present and potential future of documentary filmmaking in the sports world. To find out more about this SXSW panel, click here.