ESPN Films’ 30 for 30, presented by Buick Verano, will premiere Ghosts of Ole Miss on ESPN/ESPNHD on Tuesday, October 30, at 8 p.m. ET. The film, directed by Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Fritz Mitchell, is told through the perspective of writer and Mississippi native Wright Thompson.
In the fall of 1962, on the eve of James Meredith becoming the first African American student to attend the University of Mississippi, the campus erupted into a night of rioting between those opposed to the integration and those trying to enforce it. President Kennedy sent the US Army to Oxford to put an end to the violence and enforce Meredith’s rights as an American citizen, but the riot resulted in two deaths and many injuries.
Against this backdrop, the Ole Miss football team was in the early stages of what would prove to be an unprecedented season in school history. Ghosts of Ole Miss explores the intersection of the Rebel football team with this seminal event in the civil rights movement, including tumultuous events that not only continue to shape the state half a century later, but also led to Thompson’s discovery of a personal family connection to the story.
“Ghosts of Ole Miss will shed light on a significant time in our country’s civil rights history while weaving in a sports story not familiar to most,” said Connor Schell ESPN Films vice president and executive producer. “Fifty years later, the topic resonates with all Americans and we are proud to showcase such an important story as part of the 30 for 30 series.”
Ghosts of Ole Miss features personal interviews with James Meredith, former players on the 1962 football team and students who witnessed the riot.
“This story is very personal to me, and I appreciate the care Fritz Mitchell and his team put into getting it right,” said Wright Thompson. “I hope the powerful and important message of the film connects with both people who lived through the civil rights era and those for whom it is something that exists in history books.”
**Copy of film available upon request**
The remaining films for this slate of 30 for 30 documentaries will air as follows:
- Tuesday, Oct. 30, 8 p.m. – Ghosts of Ole Miss (Fritz Mitchell)
- Saturday, Dec. 8, 9 p.m. – You Don’t Know Bo (Michael Bonfiglio)
Each 30 for 30 film will be available on iTunes and Amazon.com the day after its television premiere. The 30 for 30 Film Favorites Collection, a new gift set including the most popular titles from ESPN Films, is now available on DVD. 30 for 30-related updates are available at www.facebook.com/espn30for30 and www.twitter.com/30for30.
About ESPN Films
Created in March 2008, ESPN Films produces high-quality films showcasing compelling sports stories. In October 2009, ESPN Films launched the Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated 30 for 30 film series. Inspired by ESPN’s 30th Anniversary, the films that made up the series were a thoughtful and innovative reflection on the past three decades told through the lens of diverse and interesting sports fans and social commentators. Additional projects from ESPN Films include, among others, the critically acclaimed and Television Academy Honor-winning 16th Man, Cannes Film Festival official selection The Two Escobars, and the Peabody Award-winning Black Magic. More recent projects include Catching Hell, from Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, and The Announcement, from filmmaker Nelson George. 30 for 30 Volume II has featured documentaries Broke, directed by Billy Corben, and 9.79*, directed by Daniel Gordon. For more information on 30 for 30, go to espn.com/30for30/.