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ESPN Films’ Short Documentary “Black Girls Play” wins NAACP Image Award

Photo by: ESPN

ESPN Films’ critically acclaimed “Black Girls Play: The Story of Hand Games,” directed by award-winning filmmakers Joe Brewster and Michéle Stephenson (“American Promise,” “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Story”), was honored Tuesday with an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Short Form Documentary (Film).

The short has a decorated list of wins, including being shortlisted for The Oscars and being included at film festivals such as the Tribeca Film Festival, Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, New York Women International Festival, and many more.

Front Row asked Marsha Cooke, ESPN’s VP and Executive Producer, ESPN Films, about the documentary and what it means to win the NAACP Image Award.

The history of hand games is a unique story for ESPN Films. Can you tell us how this came about?
This film originated with our development team and unfolded over the process of several years. Our team was passionate about a story that presented history through hand games, the Black experience, and the creativity of Black girls that has influenced so much of our culture at large.

This required finding the right storytellers, and as fortune would have it, our amazingly talented directors, Michèle Stephenson and Joe Brewster, had been thinking about a story just like this. The timing and partnership were just right. And the end result is a remarkable film we’re proud of – one that resonates in history, sports, entertainment, and our country today.

What does it mean to the team to win a NAACP Award?
The NAACP and the Image Awards have long been standard-bearers for Black excellence. For a film like “Black Girls Play,” with a storyline and themes that connect so deeply to the Black experience in America, there is no higher honor. We made the film for everyone, and it has universal appeal — but at its heart, it’s a love letter to Black creativity, resilience, and joy.

Posted: 4/12/2024 9:59:08 AM by Jordan Davis | with 0 comments
Filed under: Award, Documentary, Media