ESPN Films’ award-winning 30 for 30 series will continue on Saturday, May 14, with “Believeland” at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. The documentary will chronicle the struggles of Cleveland’s major sports franchises over the past 50 years and the impact it has all had on the psyche of a typical Cleveland sports fan.
There’s a special place on the southern shore of Lake Erie, at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. Known as Cleveland, it is the site of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the home of the Indians, the Browns and the Cavaliers. But it’s also the home of an agonizing losing streak. Of all American cities that have at least three major sports franchises, Cleveland is the only one that has failed to win a championship in the last half-century. Those sports teams, and the hearts they’ve broken over and over again, have inspired a different name for the city, and the title for this 30 for 30 film: “Believeland.”
Directed by Ohio native Andy Billman, this evocative documentary will take you on a trip that goes back more than 50 years and captures the seminal ups and downs of the once-thriving metropolis. Despite the economic and athletic misfortunes, and the t-shirt that reads “God Hates Cleveland,” the people still believe and worship Jim Thome and Jim Brown, LeBron James and other Cleveland sports heroes. But they also can’t forget Edgar Renteria and John Elway and Michael Jordan, the men who extinguished their dreams of a long-awaited championship. Painful as it may be at times, “Believeland” is a celebration of faith, a testament to how much sports mean to Cleveland…and how much Cleveland means to sports.
“This film is a testament to the unique power of sports to create communal bonds, regardless of the final score,” says director Billman. “Having cheered for Cleveland teams my whole life, I understand what it is like to be a fan whose love and loyalty have endured despite half a century of heartache and I hope that everyone who sees “Believeland” will come away feeling some of that hard-earned love.”
Advance press screeners available upon request. Watch clips from the film: “Sports Psyche” http://es.pn/21hOY7L and “This is Cleveland” http://es.pn/1UhIQfb. Additional information including film clips and director statements and bios will be available on the 30 for 30 website espn.com/30for30; Follow 30 for 30 on Facebook (facebook.com/espn30for30) Twitter (@30for30) and Instagram (@30for30). 30 for 30 is presented by Mini Cooper.
About ESPN Films
Created in March 2008, ESPN Films produces high-quality documentary films showcasing some of the most compelling stories in sports. In October 2009, ESPN Films launched the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 film series. Additional projects from ESPN Films include the SEC Storied series and short film series 30 for 30 Shorts, Spike Lee’s ‘Lil Joints, and Eva Longoria’s Versus. The group’s highly-anticipated 30 for 30 documentary event “O.J.: Made in America” will air in June.