4 fitness-focused films at Sundance

Take a break from the slopes and head to the cinema.

With stunning mountains and a vibrant restaurant scene,Park City is a popular ski destination. But at the end of January, winter sports become a sideshow to culture thanks to the Sundance Film Festival. This year, movie-goers can choose from 113 feature-length pictures playing from January 19-29. While climate change and environmental sustainability will be front and center this year—topics that are particularly important to Sundance filmmaker and founder Robert Redford—several documentaries are sports-centric. Here, a round-up of four noteworthy athlete-focused picks.


Brian Fogel, co-writer and star of the Off-Broadway play, Jewtopia, started exploring the world of illegal sports doping three years ago without any clue as to where it might take him. A chance meeting with Russian scientist Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov led to the focus of this 110-minute documentary: Russia’s state-sponsored criminal doping program.
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take every wave: the life of laird hamilton

Surfing fans should get excited about this film documenting one of the greatest athletes in the world and how he changed the sport forever. Directed by Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Rory Kennedy, the 118-minute film captures Hamilton’s pioneering spirit and pursuit of greatness. (Don’t forget, he was the man who surfed the heaviest wave in history in 2000 off the coasts of Tahiti.) The inspiring tale is told through a mix of unseen, old footage and new shots of his latest pursuits.
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nobody speak: hulk hogan, gawker and trials of a free press

In case you missed it, Hulk Hogan sued Gawker after they released a sex tape featuring Hogan and his friend's ex-wife. The wrestler and TV personality ended up winning the legal battle for $115 million, bankrupting the site and its founder, Nick Denton. Though this 102-minute film is more about the threats of journalistic freedom in the digital age, it’s a gripping tale that you’ll want to add to your watch list. Director Brian Knappenberger also directed The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and won a Writers Guild Award.
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Tony Award-winning producer Amanda Lipitz makes her directorial debut with this 83-minute documentary, which captures a high school girls’ step team in inner-city Baltimore as they try to become the first in their families to go to college. The story follows three impressive “Lethal Ladies” during their senior year, as they navigate college applications and dance their way to success.
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