ESPN and Hollywood greats join forces to tell the story of a sports icon changing lives through the power of play
Winner of the Audience Choice Award at the Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride
Johann Olav Koss – one of the world’s most accomplished winter Olympians and humanitarians – is the subject of the ESPN Films documentary, Right To Play. The film will air on the ABC network Saturday, June 2 at 4pm EST.
Right To Play is a global organization that uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity. A four-time Olympic gold medalist and social entrepreneur, Koss founded Right To Play in 2000.
Directed by Frank Marshall (Alive, Eight Below), the documentary follows not only Koss’ path from ambitious young skater to sport icon, it also seeks to trace origins and ideals that guide the groundbreaking non-profit organization. Along with executive producers Mike Tollin (Smallville, Varsity Blues) and Gary Cohen (Triple Threat TV), Marshall followed Koss to Uganda in fall 2009 to capture Right To Play’s impact in motion.
"It was amazing to travel around Uganda with Johann, and see the huge impact Right To Play is having on thousands of children,” said Marshall. “To experience, first hand, the power that sport and play can have on the world was truly inspiring to me as a filmmaker."
With footage from around the world and spanning Olympic history as recent as the 2010 Games in Vancouver, Canada, the film is a testament to the power that play has to change the world.
"ESPN Films strives to capture the powerful emotions that sports inspire and to tell those stories through thoughtful documentaries," said Dan Silver, director of development for ESPN Films. "Since reaching the pinnacle of the sports world in 1994, Johann Koss has achieved remarkable things through his commitment to the Olympic ideals of spreading education, development and peace through sport. We are proud to be showcasing Frank Marshall's documentary Right To Play."
Not only an inspiring biography, Right To Play is an incredible opportunity to raise awareness about the organization, and bring attention to the needs of millions of children worldwide.
“Each day, Right To Play reaches hundreds of thousands of children around the world,” said Koss. “Through sport and play, we’re not only giving children an outlet, but we’re educating and empowering a generation, and I am so grateful to Frank Marshall, ESPN and everyone involved in this film for recognizing the power of sport and play to change young lives.”
ESPN Films’ Right To Play airs Saturday June 2, 2012 at 4pm EST on ABC.
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About ESPN Films
Created in March 2008, ESPN Films produces high-quality films showcasing compelling sports stories. In October 2009, ESPN Films launched the Peabody Award-winning and Producer’s Guild Award-winning and Emmy-nominated 30 for 30 film series. Inspired by ESPN’s 30th Anniversary, the films that made up the series were a thoughtful and innovative reflection on the past three decades told through the lens of diverse and interesting sports fans and social commentators. Additional projects from ESPN Films include, among others, the critically acclaimed and Television Academy Honor-winning 16th Man, Cannes Film Festival official selection The Two Escobars, and the Peabody Award-winning Black Magic. Catching Hell, from Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, and The Announcement, from director Nelson George, were featured in the last slate of ESPN Films.
About Right To Play
Right To Play is a global organization that uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity. Through playing sports and games, Right To Play helps children in more than 20 countries around the world build essential life skills and better futures, while driving a lasting social change. Founded in 2000 by four-time Olympic gold medalist and social entrepreneur Johann Olav Koss, Right To Play is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and has national offices in Canada, Norway, The Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The national offices raise funds, build awareness for Right To Play programs and advocate for Sport for Development.