Seen on Screen: NFL Honors on NBC; Marvel and ESPN Announce Documentary Film Series
By Jarrel Harris, Editorial Assistant
The National Football League will recognize its best players, performances and plays from the 2014 season with a two-hour primetime awards special – “4th Annual NFL Honors” – to air nationally on Saturday, January 31, at 9 PM ET/PT on NBC. For the second year, the newest Pro Football Hall of Fame class will be announced and introduced during the show with the Class of 2015 appearing on stage at Symphony Hall in Phoenix. Seth Meyers, host of Late Night with Seth Meyers and Saturday Night Live alum, will take the stage as the host of the show the evening before the AFC and NFC champions meet to kick off Super Bowl XLIX. Joined by current and former players, The Associated Press will announce its annual accolades in an awards show format. “NFL Honors,” which debuted three years ago in Indianapolis on NBC, is now an annual event from the Super Bowl city. The winners will be on hand to accept their awards.
Kicking off the night will be “Super Bowl Saturday Night presented by XFINITY,” a red carpet show on NFL Network from 8-9 PM ET featuring the sights and sounds of Super Bowl week and many of the stars who will be celebrating the best of the NFL later that evening. For the first time, “Super Bowl Saturday Night” will feature the presentation of the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award. Microsoft Surface tablets will again replace the award envelopes this year at the NFL Honors.
…Marvel Entertainment and ESPN Films announced the feature-length documentary “1 of 1 – Genesis” and short film series “1 of 1 – Origins.” Both the documentary and the short film series will provide viewers a unique look at some of the world’s most successful athletes by mixing the non-fiction style of ESPN Films with classic Marvel comic book art, design and creative animation to truly bring a unique perspective to the journeys of these key figures. The documentary film, “1 of 1 – Genesis,” is currently available on Digital HD through select digital retailers. It explores the connections between Marvel’s mightiest Super Heroes and the world’s greatest athletes while attempting to answer the age-old question of nature vs. nurture: are top athletes born or created? The “1 of 1 – Origins” short film series will launch this summer on SportsCenter and across ESPN’s digital platforms simultaneously. Each short film focuses on a single athlete, all of whom have, like all Marvel Super Heroes, a defining story of the origin of their powers in their ascent to greatness in their sport.
Both “1 of 1 – Genesis” and “1 of 1 – Origins” contain all-new interviews with some of the top athletes in the world, including Russell Wilson, Alex Morgan, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Henrik Lundqvist, Tim Howard, Colin Kaepernick, Brandi Chastain, Danica Patrick, Cal Ripken, Jr., Albert Pujols, Tony Hawk, and Manny Pacquiao.
… ESPN Films announced a new documentary short series, Versus, that will explore moments of inspiration, when the world of sports transcended the action on the field. The series will be executive produced by Eva Longoria who is also the director of the first short, “Go, Sebastian, Go!” that will kick off the series in May. Other directors will include: Retta (Parks and Recreations), Ricardo Chavira (Desperate Housewives) and Melissa Johnson (director, Nine for IX Shorts’ “Brittney Griner: Lifesize”). Versus will consist of five films that will premiere monthly from May through September. Each film will premiere on a Friday episode of SportsCenter followed by a tiered rollout to the SportsCenter app and additional digital platforms, including ESPN.com, Twitter, Facebook and others. There will be a second season of Versus in 2016.
…MLB Network will explore some of baseball’s captivating stories and personalities in its new original series MLB Network Presents, hosted by Bob Costas and premiering on Tuesday, January 13 at 9:00 p.m. ET. The first installment is “The Odd Couple: Bochy and Flannery, an in-depth look at the unique friendship between San Francisco Giants manager Bruch Bochy and his longtime third base coach Tim Flannery.
… Grantland Features’ first full-length documentary, Son of the Congo, chronicling Oklahoma City Thunder star Serge Ibaka’s improbable journey from his native Congo and return home as a top echelon NBA player, has been selected to premiere at South By Southwest (SXSW) Film on March 14. The Grantland documentary film follows Ibaka’s return home to war-stricken Congo to recount the touching story of his childhood and confront the stark reality faced by a new generation of Congolese youth. Not content to settle for photo ops, Ibaka revisits the neighborhoods where he once slept in empty lots and practiced basketball without shoes. With grace and generosity, Ibaka receives and supports an endless stream of friends and strangers who hope he can change their lives through his unshakeable faith that a better future is only possible if you never stop trying. Following its SXSW premiere, Son of the Congo will debut on Grantland in five parts from March 23-27. Additionally, the film will air April 17 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
…William Levy, star of movies and television, has teamed with Emmy Award-winning NASCAR Productions to produce a non-scripted reality series about Hispanic race car drivers. The show will follow drivers as they attempt to make it in NASCAR while transitioning to life in America, and it will be pitched to networks in February.