Showtime Networks Inc. on Wednesday announced it acquired the rights to *Play It Forward, *a documentary about Falcons legend Tony Gonzalez and his older brother, Chris. The film is described as an intimate portrait of their lives and how their relationship allowed Tony to achieve a wealth of success on the gridiron.
"I'm so appreciative of Tony and his family who were open and honest in what proved to be such an emotional series of events we bore witness to," said Academy Award-nominated director Andrea Nevins. "We're so excited to share the Gonzalez family's very human story of dreams deferred, loss, and ultimately triumph."
From Rare Birds Films and SMAC Entertainment, *Play It Forward *shadows the Gonzalez family as Tony's Hall of Fame-worthy career drew to a close. It also offers a unique look at how Chris Gonzalez pursued a new life for himself as a fireman.
"As Tony continued to play and deflect retirement, we filmed and bore witness to a year of significant family life-cycle events: the death of a father and mentor, the chosen son's final quest and the other son's struggle to become a firefighter and finally emerge from his brother's enormous shadow," Nevins told Deadline.com. "The stories that surfaced during a pivotal year in the life of this one family felt archetypal to my team and me. It became not just a story about retirement but of family sacrifice and the virtues of grit and love."
The documentary premiered on April 25 at the 2015 Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival. According to a press release, *Play It Forward *is the only non-ESPN production to win an opening gala spot in the festival's nine-year history.
Among those who helped make the picture are Constance Schwartz (The Rebels, State of Play) and Michael Strahan. The two served as executive producers.
"The Gonzalez's story in *Play It Forward *resonates with the love, joy, loss, struggle and sacrifice it takes to hold a family together and achieve success," said Strahan. "Whether you're a player in the NFL or chasing a dream to be a firefighter the one central theme is family. As executive producers, Constance Schwartz and I are thrilled that Showtime has joined us on this journey to take this film to audiences in hopes that they will be as inspired by this story as we are."