Audiences had the opportunity to applaud for sport films at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT. Two sport-themed documentary films won audience awards. The U.S. winner, Buck, follows the life of horse trainer Buck Brannaman, and Senna, a look at the life of Formula One hero Ayrton Senna, won in the international category. Other sport films screened this year included WinWin, in which Paul Giamatti stars as a volunteer high school wrestling coach; Benevides Born, about a teen female wrestler trying win a scholarship; and two short movie entries, Bike Race, an animated film about a race and a love triangle, and Skateistan: To Live and Skate Kabul, a documentary about skaters in war-torn Afghanistan. This review provides an examination of the sport films at this year’s festival and discusses the impact that this form of sport communication has on the entertainment industry.
The author is a doctoral student in Sport Communication, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.