ESPN recruits directors for '30 for 30'

Brett Morgen, Peter Berg among those set to helm docs

NEW YORK -- ESPN Films continues to pile up the names for its "30 for 30" program.

The network on Thursday announced 10 new directors who will be making hourlong docs that will air on the net in the coming two years.

Among the more notable names, "The Kid Stays in the Picture" helmer Brett Morgen will direct "June 17, 1994," a film about the day just before the O.J. Simpson chase when the Rangers had won their first Stanley Cup in 54 years, the Knicks were on the brink of a title and other seminal sports events had collided.

"Hancock" and "The Kingdom" helmer Peter Berg, meanwhile, will direct "#99," the story of Wayne Gretzky's trade to the Los Angeles Kings at the peak of his career. "Hoop Dreams" director Steve James has also been added to the roster; he'll direct a pic about Allen Iverson's legal troubles as a high school star -- legal battles that divided the city of Hampton, Va. -- along racial lines, while "Bull Durham" director Ron Shelton has signed on for a pic about Michael Jordan's foray into baseball in 1993.

Directors Bill Couturie, Fritz Mitchell, Reggie Rock Bythewood, Jonathan Hock, Jeff Zimbalist and the pair of Lucas Jansen and Adam Kurland have also signed on to make films for the net, on subjects ranging from Jimmy the Greek to the murder of star Colombian soccer player Andres Escobar.

ESPN has been loading up on star filmmakers as part of its plan to combine filmmaking chops with the sports nostalgia programming that has over the years been one of its specialties. Mike Tollin, Albert Maysles, Barry Levinson and Barabara Kopple are among the filmmakers who had previously signed up.

The net also just picked up "The Lost Son of Havana," a story of Cuban baseball pitcher Luis Tiant directed by Jonathan Hock, out of the Tribeca Film Festival.
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