Earlier this week, FOX Sports hosted a special screening event in New York for “89 Blocks,” a documentary that tells the story of the East St. Louis High School Flyers football team in Illinois. The film is the first in FOX Sports Films’ feature-length documentary series, “Magnify,” which explores important cultural stories through the lens of sports and leverages partnerships with executive producers like NBA stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, and Grammy Award-winning Chance the Rapper. After the screening, a panel featuring “FIRST THINGS FIRST” co-hosts Cris Carter (Pro Football Hall of Famer) and Nick Wright; Emmy-winning director and Time Inc. Sports executive producer Josh Oshinsky; and two of the mentors and coaches in the documentary, Darren Sunkett and Detective Jason Hicks, talked about the unique connection between sports and community.
“89 Blocks,” which airs Sunday, Nov. 26, on FOX, gives audiences an up-close look at the challenges and triumphs of the East St. Louis High School Flyers football team in an at-risk Illinois community. The documentary is executive produced by Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated, along with LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s Uninterrupted.
“This commitment to deeper storytelling – pointing the cameras where they’re needed most – diversifies our voice and gets audiences thinking about sports in a broader context beyond wins and losses,” says Charlie Dixon, EVP, Content at FOX Sports. “The aim is to create dialogue and hopefully effect change in the communities where these stories are told.”
“Shot in the Dark,” the second documentary in the “Magnify” series, will air in February 2018. The film is about Orr Academy’s high school basketball team in Chicago facing systemic injustices. It’s produced by Los Angeles Media Fund and executive produced by Dwyane Wade and Chance the Rapper, who both hail from Chicago.
“Working with athletes and entertainers that are passionate about these documentaries is invaluable,” says Gabe Spitzer, Executive Producer, FOX Sports Films. “We’ll be an outlet for creators to highlight stories that speak to their personal journeys in an open and engaging forum.”
Below are photos from the New York screening event for “89 Blocks”: