ESPN as well as streaming service ESPN Player will premiere two new documentaries from ESPN Films’ Peabody and Academy Award-winning 30 for 30 series as it brings viewers across our continent LANCE and Be Water.
Leading the slate is LANCE, which features unprecedented access to Lance Armstrong through raw interviews and personal perspective on his controversial story. The two-part film is directed by Marina Zenovich (Fantastic Lies, Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind). Part’s one and two will be premiere on ESPN at 21:00 on Saturday 30 May and 6 June respectively, as well as being made available on demand on ESPN Player.
Bao Nguyen’s film Be Water, an intimate and very personal look at the life and purpose that motivated Bruce Lee, the martial artist trailblazer and pop culture icon, will debut on ESPN at 21:00 on Saturday 13 June, as well as ESPN Player.
Both films received acclaim at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
LANCE directed by Marina Zenovich
From acclaimed director Marina Zenovich, LANCE is a fascinating, revealing, comprehensive chronicle of one of the most inspirational – and then infamous – athletes of all time. Based around extensive interviews and conversations with Lance Armstrong, the two-part, four-hour film tells the story of the cyclist’s rise out of Texas as a young superstar cyclist; his harrowing battle with testicular cancer; his recovery and emergence as a global icon with his seven consecutive Tour de France titles; and then his massive fall after he was exposed in one of the largest doping scandals in history.
Armstrong, along with a collection of teammates, friends, rivals, and journalists, all reflect on his story, creating a fascinating character study, capturing a unique chapter of sports history, and insisting the audience make its own interpretations about the many different sides of a complex saga.
Be Water directed by Bao Nguyen
In 1971, after being rejected by Hollywood, Bruce Lee returned to his parents’ homeland, Hong Kong. Over the next two years, he’d complete four iconic films that would define his legacy, a legacy cut short when he died, stunningly, in the summer of 1973. He was 32 years old.
Be Water is a gripping, fascinating, intimate look at not just those final, defining years of Lee’s life, but the complex, often difficult, and seismic journey that led to Lee’s ultimate emergence as a singular icon in the histories of film, martial arts, and even the connection between the eastern and western worlds.
The film chronicles Lee’s earliest days, as the son of a Chinese opera star born while his father was on tour in San Francisco, and then raised in Hong Kong over what became an at times troubled childhood. Sent to live in America at the age of 18, he began teaching Kung Fu in Seattle, and established a following that included his future wife, Linda. His ambition ever rising, Lee eventually made his way to Los Angeles, where he strove to break into American film and television. There, despite some success as a fight choreographer and actor, it was clear Hollywood wasn’t ready for an Asian leading man – and so he returned to Hong Kong to make the films that would in fact make him a legend, his international star skyrocketing just as his life was cut short.
Be Water is told entirely by the family, friends, and collaborators who knew Bruce Lee best, with an extraordinary trove of archive film providing an evocative, immersive visual tapestry that captures Lee’s charisma, his passion, his philosophy, and the eternal beauty and wonder of his art.