(Sneak Peek) ESPN’s Sad Documentary On ‘The Life And Trials Of Oscar Pistorius’


In the midst of the most unusual year across sports and entertainment, ESPN Films continues to offer some of the best overall storytelling, including the Emmy award-winning cultural phenomenon “The Last Dance” and 30 for 30 documentaries “LANCE,” “Be Water,” and “Long Gone Summer.”

The latest installment in the Peabody and Emmy award-winning 30 for 30 series, “The Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius,” which has been in production for several years. The four-part documentary will debut on ESPN+ on September 27, 2020. 

Directed by BAFTA award-winner Daniel Gordon (“Hillsborough,” “George Best: All By Himself”) and produced by Academy Award-winner John Battsek (“Searching for Sugarman,” “One Day in September”), the documentary tells the story of the South African Paralympic sprinter and international hero, who had inspired millions with his determination and dedication – and who was then suddenly at the center of a murder investigation. The circus that surrounded a tragic death became just as much a story of the time as his initial rise to glory. 

 Viewers will have the choice to watch the four serialized parts of the film live, over four nights, or binge the entire film. Part One of the film will stream live on ESPN+ on September 27, 2020, with each subsequent part streaming live the next three nights, respectively. Alternatively, viewers can choose to watch all four parts any time– with the entire film available on-demand.

 “‘The Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius’ is the culmination of an exceptional year of work from ESPN Films,” said Connor Schell, Executive Vice President, Content, ESPN. “As ESPN continues to build on its legacy as the home of the best storytelling in sports, we’ve simultaneously built a platform on ESPN+ where our audience can easily find and watch not only this latest release, but also films like ‘O.J.: Made in America,’ ‘The U,’ ‘The Two Escobars,’ and the rest of the 100+ titles in the 30 for 30 library.”

 Featuring interviews with more than a dozen of the figures closest to the story, the film recounts Pistorius’s fall from grace after killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the wee hours of February 14, 2013 in his home in Pretoria, South Africa. According to Pistorius, the event was a tragic accident, but his troubled past and questionable testimony cast doubt on his innocence. As the saga unfolds, the story flashes back to the very beginning of the future Paralympic star’s life, chronicling his improbable ascent from a young boy who had both his undeveloped legs amputated as a toddler to overnight teenage phenomenon at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games. Shattering records and convention, “The Blade Runner,” as he became known, then went on a quest to compete against able-bodied athletes at the Olympics. His struggle against international track and field officials continued for years before Pistorius finally prevailed and competed at the London Olympics in 2012. Less than a year later, he was in a South African courtroom, accused of murdering his girlfriend.

 “The story of Oscar Pistorius is remarkable in its complexity. It’s at once inspirational and harrowing, and provides a lens of insight into a breadth of issues – from gender based violence to disability rights, racial inequality and media frenzy,” said director Daniel Gordon. “My hope is that the film gives audiences additional context and layers to a story they think they know.”