9:47am PT by Kate Stanhope
Showtime Acquires Tony Gonzalez Documentary 'Play It Forward'
Showtime is ready to play ball.
The pay cable network has acquired the documentary Play It Forward centered on NFL star Tony Gonzalez, Showtime announced Wednesday.
Written and directed by Oscar nominee Andrea Nevins (Still Kicking) – the wife of Showtime president David Nevins – the film specifically chronicles Gonzalez's close bond with his older brother Chris Gonzalez, who taught him how to play the game and shared his young brother's pigskin dreams. The documentary follows the two as Tony is winding down his professional career as a tight end and Chris as he chases his own mid-life dreams to become a firefighter.
After a 17-year career in the NFL that included 14 Pro-Bowl appearances and saw him break the record for touchdowns by a tight end (111), Tony retired in 2013 and is now a CBS Sports analyst for The NFL Today.
Play It Forward premiered at the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival – which screens sports movies as part of the Tribeca Film Festival. The film was the only non-ESPN film in the festival's nine-year history to win the opening gala slot.
From SMAC Entertainment and Rare Bird Films, the documentary was produced by Cristan Reilly and executive produced by former NFL star and TV host Michael Strahan and Constance Schwartz.
“I’m so appreciative of Tony and his family who were open and honest in what proved to be such an emotional series of events we bore witness to,” said Nevins. “We're so excited to share the Gonzalez family's very human story of dreams deferred, loss, and ultimately triumph.”
“The Gonzalez’s story in Play It Forward resonates with the love, joy, loss, struggle and sacrifice it takes to hold a family together and achieve success,” added Strahan. “Whether you're a player in the NFL or chasing a dream to be a firefighter the one central theme is family. As executive producers, Constance Schwartz and I are thrilled that Showtime has joined us on this journey to take this film to audiences in hopes that they will be as inspired by this story as we are.”
Nevins' other credits include her Emmy-winning work on Why Can’t We Live Together, The Other F Word and most recently HBO's State of Play, which examined life after football for three former stars.