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ESPN Films Wins Peabody Award for "Black Magic"

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 7:44 PM, under , , , ,

Athens, GA (April 1, 2009) - ESPN Films and Shoot the Moon Productions has been honored with a George Foster Peabody award for Black Magic. In announcing the award, the Peabody Awards said

This unusually penetrating sports documentary illuminated the lives of African-American basketball players and their coaches at historically black colleges and universities during the civil rights era.

This is the third Peabody recognition for the ESPN family of networks. The other two are as follows.

The Compleat Angler (2002)

When Yale student James Prosek convinced the university to permit him to write a senior essay on Izaak Walton, author of the 17th Century classic, The Compleat Angler, he had not yet read Walton's book. When he did he found it as much about a philosophy of life as about fishing. Prosek's "research", which took him to Ireland and England to fish the same rivers and streams as had Walton, is captured in this very personal documentary that celebrates nature, fishing, and most importantly, the contemplative life of the "complete" fisherman.

He discovers the art of dapping, a method of fly-fishing still practiced as it was in Walton's day, 350 years earlier. He fishes the streams flowing under and around London, streams once central to water meadows, but now surrounded by parking lots and high-rise apartment buildings. And he makes his way into the world of private river-ways, fished only by the upper-class English gentry who control the land through which the rivers flow. With lords and princes, as well as with fishing guides and boatmen, he discovers a common bond among anglers. It is a bond that erases social barriers among those for whom angling is a way to discover the flow of life as well as the flow of waters.

Executive Producers Mark Shapiro and Michael Antinoro worked with Producer Fritz Michell to craft this extraordinary film, written by Prosek and directed by Peter Francella. Associate Producers include Paul Carruthers and Wendy Yamano. For presenting the beauty of 17th century contemplation to today's audiences in this exquisite video tone poem, a Peabody Award goes to The Complete Angler.

ESPN SportsCentury (1999)

This comprehensive retrospective of the people and events that shaped the face of sport in North America over the past 100 years is the first Peabody Award for ESPN and its sister sports networks.

The bedrock of this substantial effort was the production of new half-hour documentaries on each of the "50 Greatest Athletes" of the past century. While the names and rankings on the list will be debated by historians and sports fans for years, there is no disputing the overall excellence of the series. Expertly hosted and narrated by Dan Patrick, the programs relied on extensive research and insightful interviews to provide new details about the life and times of such diverse athletic talents as Muhammad Ali, Martina Navratilova and Man O'War.

Additional elements of the ESPN "SportsCentury" effort included more than 1,000 one-minute "Classic Moments" from a century of sport; six two-hour "SportsCenter of the Decade" programs; three two-hour specials on "The Greatest Games," "The Most Influential People" and "The Greatest Coaches"; plus a 90-minute special on "The Greatest Dynasties" of the 20th century. Special recognition for this exceptional commitment to innovative, original and important historical programming goes to ESPN chairman and CEO and ABC sports president Steve Bornstein; ESPN president George Bodenheimer; Howard Katz, ESPN executive vice president, production; Dick Glover, executive vice president, programming; senior vice president and executive editor John A. Walsh; and coordinating producer Mark Shapiro. For overall excellence in sports broadcasting, a Peabody is presented to ESPN for "SportsCentury."

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