2016 Sundance Docs in Focus: OJ: MADE IN AMERICA

ojAnd wrapping up Special Events features (remaining nonfiction projects are short form): Ezra Edelman’s OJ: MADE IN AMERICA, an ESPN 30 FOR 30 miniseries about the football star-turned-murder suspect.

Festival Section:
Special Events

Sundance Program Description:

The producers of ESPN’s 30 FOR 30, along with award-winning director Ezra Edelman, tell the story of one of the most polarizing people in American history, OJ Simpson. They explore how Simpson’s rise and fall was centered around two of America’s greatest fixations – race and celebrity.

The film deftly reveals how Orenthal James Simpson first became a football star, why America fell in love with him off the field, what happened in the trial for his ex-wife’s murder and his subsequent acquittal, and finally, why he is now sitting in jail for another crime 20 years later. His is a story that divided America like few things before or since, and it is perhaps the defining cultural tale of twentieth-century America. The film parallels his incredible story with that of race in America, astutely examining the tragic way that they intertwined.

The Festival debuts the complete seven-and-a-half-hour miniseries in two parts on the same day, with a lunch break, and followed by a conversation and Q&A with the filmmakers.

Some Background:
Director/Producer: Ezra Edelman
Edelman is a Sundance alum as co-producer of the US Documentary Directing Award-winner CUTIE AND THE BOXER (2013), which went on to be nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar. He has been recognized with a Peabody Award for MAGIC AND BIRD: A COURTSHIP OF RIVALS and an Emmy Award for BROOKLYN DODGERS: THE GHOSTS OF FLATBUSH, both for HBO.

Producers: Caroline Waterlow, Tamara Rosenberg, Nina Krstic, Erin Leyden, and Deirdre Fenton
Waterlow also co-produced CUTIE AND THE BOXER, and associate produced BROOKLYN DODGERS, among other projects.

Rosenberg has previously produced documentaries for Discovery, HBO, and PBS, including the award-winning Wide Angle series.

Krstic is a Sundance alumna as one of the directors of 99% – THE OCCUPY WALL STREET COLLABORATIVE FILM (2013). She has also produced for PBS, including several episodes of American Experience.

Leyden and Fenton have produced for ESPN’s 30 FOR 30, including its 2013 NINE FOR IX spinoff.

Executive Producers: Connor Schell and Libby Geist
Schell is an executive producer for 30 FOR 30, and a Sundance alum for the series’ short doc UNTUCKED (2014).

Geist is also a 30 FOR 30 producer, and a Sundance alum as an associate producer of CRAZY LOVE (2007).

Editors: Bret Granato, Maya Mumma, and Ben Sozanski
This marks Granato’s first Sundance project. Mumma’s previous Sundance credits are WHICH WAY IS THE FRONT LINE FROM HERE? (2013) and RESTREPO (2010), while Sozanski cut HISTORY OF THE EAGLES PART ONE.

Why You Should Watch:
ESPN has been producing quality sports-focused documentary programming for 30 FOR 30 since 2009, helping open up new audiences for nonfiction, and bringing different stories to the genre. The network won’t debut the series until June, making this a rare opportunity for those viewers able to get tickets to this special marathon screening session.

More Info:
For Sundance screening date and time, click the link in the first paragraph.

Presently, the film does not have a website, Facebook page, or trailer. Should this change before the festival kicks off, I’ll update that information here.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance filmmaker class of 2016 Twitter list.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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