All-new sports film festival this spring

March 24, 2016

NEWPORT, R.I. – Lights, camera, action meets game, set, match, when film buffs and sports fans gather for a packed weekend of sports documentaries and programming hosted at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. The inaugural newportFILM SPORTS film festival is set for April 29 – May 1, 2016. newportFILM SPORTS is a joint venture between newportFILM and the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

“After over five years of building our brand as a trusted year-round documentary screening series, newportFILM is thrilled to be adding a film festival element to its program,” commented newportFILM’s Artistic Director and Founder Andrea van Beuren. “We have been in discussions with the International Tennis Hall of Fame about partnering on a sports film event for some time and we are really excited to be taking this step together. The inaugural festival will feature a selection of carefully curated documentaries (shorts and features). Each film tells an exceptionally well crafted story and none should be missed!”

“We are very much looking forward to delivering a memorable sports film festival in partnership with newportFILM SPORTS,” commented Doug Stark, museum director at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. “At the International Tennis Hall of Fame, every day we work to share the great stories of our sport. Film being one of the most compelling and engaging story-telling platforms we have available, the sports film festival will be a great way to share a variety of unique stories from the sports world. We are excited to partner with newportFILM to create a great event for the community.”


Films will span a variety of sports – boxing to horse-racing, and much in between. The films will be shown in the Casino Theatre on the Hall of Fame property and in the USTA Wing, which is a space within the Hall of Fame’s museum. Special events throughout the weekend will take place in the tennis facility and on the grounds.

The festival kicks off on Friday, April 29 with Winning, a film that explores a theme that is at the heart of all sports – what does it take to win? How does one become a champion? The film offers a thought-provoking and inspirational look inside the minds of five world-class athletes through candid conversations with Tennis Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova, Jack Nicklaus (golf), Nadia Comaneci (gymnastics), Edwin Moses (track and field), and Esther Vergeer (wheelchair tennis). The film’s director, Jacqueline Joseph will participate in a post-film discussion with the audience. An Opening Night party will follow in the USTA Wing in the Hall of Fame. The film is sponsored by Inpopnito (popcorn in disguise), a company based in Newport, R.I.

On Saturday and Sunday, a robust line up of documentaries, shorts, and special events will enable festival-goers to connect with the emotions of sports, from the joy of triumph to the agony of defeat.

Films will include Dark Horse, the Audience Award Winner in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, which chronicles the astonishing story of residents from a poor mining community in Wales who became successful thoroughbred breeders; Touch the Wall, which showcases the demanding path of Olympic swimmers Missy Franklin and Kara Lynne Joyce (Kara will be in attendance); and T-Rex, which follows 17-year-old Claressa “T-Rex” Shields of Flint, Michigan, as she goes for gold in women’s boxing at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Ideal for the city-by-the sea, the featured film on Saturday evening will be the sailing documentary, The Weekend Sailor. The film chronicles the exciting and unlikely story of the Mexican crew of Sayula II that sailed their way to victory in the first-ever round-the-world sailing race – the precursor to today’s Volvo Ocean Race. Bernardo Arsuaga, director, will attend the screening, and will participate in a post-film panel discussion. Also on the panel will be Nick Dana, Rhode Island native and current round-the-world sailor on the 2015 Volvo Ocean Race’s Team Alvimedica, and Anderson Reggio, Rhode Island native and weather coordinator for the 2015 Volvo Ocean Race’s Team Alvimedica. The evening is sponsored by KVH, a Middletown, R.I. based manufacturer of internet and communications services for the marine industry. Sail Newport is a partner in the evening as well.

Just as the most dramatic, exciting moments of sports take place in a fast and furious manner, sometimes the most compelling films are short and sweet. At newportFILM SPORTS, festival-goers will be treated to a sports short film session, exclusively curated by The New York Times Op-Docs. Op-Docs is The New York Times’s editorial department’s Emmy-winning forum for short, opinionated documentaries, produced with wide creative latitude and a range of artistic styles, covering current affairs, contemporary life, and historical subjects.

A panel discussion with female Olympians on Saturday afternoon will be a highlight of the day with filmmakers and film subjects, including four-time Silver Medal-winning Olympic swimmer Kara Lynn Joyce, who is featured in Touch the Wall. Additional Olympian panelists will be announced in the coming days.

On Saturday evening, newportFILM SPORTS will move to downtown Newport to celebrate the filmmakers with a VIP sponsor and all-access pass holder party at The Clarke Cooke House.

After cozying up in their seats for the sports films on Saturday, fans can get moving themselves on Sunday. A tennis clinic for kids on the new indoor tennis courts at the Hall of Fame Tennis Club will open the day on Sunday. Former world No. 4 ranked player and current Hall of Fame CEO Todd Martin and Wimbledon mixed doubles champion John Austin, who is currently the Director of Tennis for the Hall of Fame Tennis Club will participate in the clinic, along with Hall of Fame Tennis Club staff professionals. The clinic will be suited for kids ages 5 – 15, and is open to all levels. Participants and their families will enjoy a post-clinic lemonade reception in the new tennis club building. Newport Pediatric Dentistry is the sponsor of the youth tennis clinic, as well as Saturday’s screening of Touch the Wall.

Also on Sunday, Newport Yogis will host an outdoor yoga class on the beautiful Hall of Fame grass courts. The event will be open to the public and will be a donation-based class that will benefit both newportFILM and the International Tennis Hall of Fame.


Weekend passes and individual tickets for the event are on sale now on

Tickets for the films range from $8 – $15 with a number of free event offerings as well. Limited and All-Access weekend passes are available for $50 and $110. Advance registration is required for tennis, Olympian panel discussion, and yoga, with details for all events available on the website.


newportFILM SPORTS is a joint venture between newportFILM and the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The event is made possible through the support of community sponsors and partners.

KVH will sponsor the opening night party on Friday evening and the Saturday screening of The Weekend Sailor. Based in Middletown, R.I., KVH is a leading manufacturer of solutions that provide global high-speed Internet, television, and voice services via satellite to mobile users at sea and on land.

Newport Pediatric Dentistry is a sponsor of the festival in support of family-friendly events including Touch the Wall, the film about Olympic hopeful swimmers, and the youth tennis clinic.

Inpopnito (popcorn in disguise) will sponsor the opening night film, Winning, which will be followed by a party in the USTA Wing of the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s newly renovated museum. The party will include food by Blackstone Caterers, open bar, DJ, and a Flipbook filmmaking booth.

Additionally, newportFILM SPORTS is supported by Team One Newport, Discover Newport, Blackstone Caterers, The Clarke Cooke House, Ocean Cliff Resort, Newport Wine Cellar & Gourmet, Minuteman Press, Rhode Island Public Radio, and The Newport Daily News.



What makes an athlete a multiple Olympic Gold Medalist, a Wimbledon champion or winner of The Masters? What gives these athletes an “edge”? Through candid interviews with tennis legend Martina Navratilova, golf great Jack Nicklaus, Olympic gymnastics icon Nadia Comaneci, track and field star Edwin Moses, and Dutch Paralympian Esther Vergeer, as well as archival footage of their most exciting moments competing on sport’s biggest stages, such as the Olympics, Wimbledon, the Masters, the British Open, and the Paralympics, the film explores why some athletes achieve greatness.

Director Jacqueline Joseph will be in attendance.

The Weekend Sailor

The Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, today the prestigious Volvo Ocean Race, took the sport to its limits. The British Royal Navy purchased six yachts to train 800 man and chose the best four 10-man crews for each of the four legs of the race, yet, an inexperienced Mexican man also signed up. In his fifties, with a crew that included his wife, son, family and friends. His name, Ramon Carlín. A weekend sailor. And he beat every competing nation.

Director Bernardo Arsuaga will be in attendance.

Sports Shorts, curated by The New York Times Op-Docs

A curated collection of sports-related shorts where you might discover sports you never knew existed and possibly find a new perspective on old favorites. Launched in the fall of 2011, Op-Docs is The New York Times’s editorial department’s Emmy-winning forum for short, opinionated documentaries, produced with wide creative latitude and a range of artistic styles, covering current affairs, contemporary life, and historical subjects.

The New York Times Op-Docs Coordinating Producer Lindsay Crouse will be in attendance.

Touch the Wall

On the evening of Saturday, August 4, 2012, 17-year-old Missy Franklin won her fourth Gold Medal of the London Olympic Games when she swam the backstroke leg of the women’s 4×100 medley relay. It was Missy’s second world record of the Olympic Games; it was her fifth Olympic medal.

That Saturday was also the end of her teammate Kara Lynn Joyce’s long and productive Olympic career. And though she finished with four Silver Medals, just making it to her third Olympics was her greatest accomplishment.

Touch the Wall is the story of how these two amazing women and their coach got to where they are. It’s a story of winning and losing, of commitment, and of triumph through adversity. It’s also a story of family, of loving what you do, and having fun with the people around you.

Film subject Kara Lynn Joyce will be in attendance.

Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance

Set in a former mining village in Wales, Dark Horse is the inspirational true story of a group of friends from a working men’s club who decide to take on the elite ‘sport of kings’ and breed themselves a racehorse. Raised on a slagheap allotment, their foal grows into an unlikely champion, beating the finest thoroughbreds in the land, before suffering a near fatal accident. Nursed back to health by the love of his owners – for whom he’s become a source of inspiration and hope – he makes a remarkable recovery, returning to the track for a heart-stopping comeback.

Director Louise Osmond will participate in a post-film Q&A via Skype.


Seventeen-year-old Claressa “T-Rex” Shields from Flint, Michigan, dreams of being the first woman in history to win the Gold Medal in Olympic boxing. To succeed, she will need to stand her ground both inside and outside of the ring.

Producer Sue Johnson will be in attendance, and Claressa Shields, the film’s subject, will join the post-film Q&A via Skype.

Tickets are on sale now on