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Tribeca Adds Sports Documentaries

Kevin Connolly's 'Big Shot' opens the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.

Tribeca has added five more documentaries as part of its annual sports programming co-presented with ESPN, which bows with the world preem of “Big Shot,” a hockey doc by Kevin Connolly (“Entourage”).

Also added to the Tribeca slate are four world preems to be presented in ESPN’s upcoming “Nine for IX,” a series of nine docs about women in sports timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark legislation that banned sex discrimination in schools, whether it be in academics or athletics.

The Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival kicks off April 19 with a gala screening of “Big Shot,” which centers on John Spano, the Dallas businessman who fraudulently purchased the New York Islanders in 1996.

The four pics for “Nine for IX” comprise “Pat XO,” about the onset of Alzheimer’s in college basketball coach Pat Summitt, directed by Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern Winters and produced by Robin Roberts (“Good Morning America”).

There’s also Senain Kheshgi and Jennifer Arnold’s “The Diplomat,” about East German ice skater Katarina Witt; Alison Ellwood’s “No Limits,” about free diver Audrey Mestre; and Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s “Let Them Wear Towels,” about Melissa Ludtke and the other female sports journos who were the first women allowed in the locker room.

Tribeca and EPSN also added four previously announced fest titles to the sports programming, including “McConkey,” about extreme skier Shane McConkey; “Lenny Cooke,” about the career of a man who was the most hyped high-school basketballer in the nation; “The Trials of Muhammad Ali,” centering on the boxer’s shift from Cassius Clay to his Ali moniker; and professional skateboarding doc “The Motivation.”

Tribeca’s partnership with ESPN reps another initiative to broaden programming to attract auds beyond the usual fest-circuit enthusiasts, including sports fans among general Gotham moviegoers. The team-up also encompasses the fest’s annual Sports Day, a community event targeted at downtown neighborhoods where many of the fest’s events take place.

The Tribeca fest runs April 17-28.

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