ESPN Announces Film Slate For "Nine For IX"; Hannah Storm Included As A Director
ESPN Films and espnW yesterday announced the film slate for "Nine for IX," a docu-series focused on stories of women in sports told through the lens of female filmmakers. "Nine for IX" topics include Tennessee women's basketball head coach emeritus Pat Summitt, former German figure skater Katarina Witt and the focus of sex in the marketing of female athletes. The series will premiere July 2 on ESPN and the films will air over consecutive Tuesday evenings at 8:00pm ET (ESPN). The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Marisa Guthrie reported the inaugural film is "likely to be director Ava DuVernay's 'Venus Vs.' about Venus Williams' 2005 petition for financial parity at Wimbledon and the French Open." ESPN President John Skipper noted that 30% of the ESPN audience "is women," and "Nine for IX" will not only mark the 40th anniversary of Title IX, but also is "a way to bring more female filmmakers to ESPN." Skipper: "Part of the point of this was to form more relationships with women filmmakers." He added that the series "may not become an ongoing franchise like '30 for 30'" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 2/19). Skipper said, "I am very proud of our company. We want to continue to forge ahead and be leaders in this field." "SportsCenter" anchor Hannah Storm will produce a documentary on basketball player Sheryl Swoopes, while ESPN's Julie Foudy and Erin Leyden will produce a documentary on the '99 Women's World Cup-winning U.S. soccer team called "The '99ers." ESPN Senior VP/Global Strategy, Business Development & Business Affairs Marie Donaghue said, "We want to give viewers the sense of how women in sports have evolved over the past 40 years" (John Ourand, Staff Writer). SI.com's Richard Deitsch writes the series "looks terrific" (SI.com, 2/20).