At the Tribeca Film Festival, which came to a close this past weekend, I had the chance to catch eight sports and environmental documentaries that riveted me with tales of physical hardship—and consequently, in many cases, mental hardship. In The Last Ice Merchant, a 68-year-old ice miner makes weekly treks up a mountain that men half his age might struggle to ascend. In Knuckleball!, two MLB players endure the job instability that comes with specializing in an unpopular style of pitching. On the Mat documents the literal blood, sweat and tears spilled by championship high school wrestlers. Then there’s Broke, which explores what happens when pro athletes spend all their earnings at the physical peak of their career—and find themselves retired and broke in their early 30s. Here’s the lowdown on all eight films:
Why Do So Many Professional Athletes Go Broke?
In Broke, which screened as a work-in-progress at the Tribeca Film Festival, director Billy Corben explores the whys and hows of an all-too-familiar coda to a pro athlete's career
Blood, Sweat, and Tears on the Mat
Actor Chris Pratt recruited Fredric Golding to follow Washington state's Lake Stevens High wrestling team for five months and document their grueling training. This is what he saw.
The Baseball Pitch That Commands So Little Respect
Knuckleball!, which premiered last Saturday at the Tribeca Film Festival, traces the careers of pitchers R.A. Dickey and Tim Wakefield as they navigate the ups and downs of their marginalized society
The Small Town Where Everybody Runs
In Bekoji, Ethiopia, running is more than just recreation. It's a kind of work, a way of earning money and of contributing to your family.
Life at Chernobyl, Animated
A new documentary short playing at the Tribeca Film Festival tells the story of Leonid and his pregnant wife, Lyudmila, a couple that lived just miles from the nuclear power plant
The Tragic Death of Chicago's Ben Wilson
A new documentary premiering this week at the Tribeca Film Festival revisits the murder of a 1980s high school basketball phenom
The Last Ice Merchant of Chimborazo
For the past five decades, 68-year-old Baltazar Ushca has made a living by harvesting glacial ice from the tallest mountain in Ecuador. His work is no longer needed, but he still gets up every...
Living on the Edge
In Paraiso Nadav Kurtz follows three Mexican immigrants as they make a living washing the windows of Chicago's tallest skyscrapers