Project Description

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Emmy Award for Best Writing Michelle Ferrari
American Experience’s Highest Rated One Hour Program of the Year

“The film’s writing is notably stylish.”-The New York Times
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In 1938, as America was reeling from the Great Depression, a stocky, dung-colored, knobby-kneed racehorse named Seabiscuit captured the nation’s attention and its heart. Columnist Walter Winchell named the horse one of the year’s top ten newsmakers, alongside Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Adolph Hitler. Tens of thousands of people across the nation flocked to his races, or sat glued to the radio whenever he ran. Meanwhile, his beloved equine image adorned everything from ladies’ hats to orange crates to board games.Seabiscuit, Insignia Films’ Primetime Emmy award-winning, sixty-minute documentary for the PBS series American Experience, tells the story of the unlikely champion who became America’s hero, and of the men who nurtured his potential and drove him to superstardom. Weaving thrilling archival footage of Seabiscuit’s major races together with commentary by those who knew his owner, trainer and jockeys, Seabiscuitanimates author Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling book Seabiscuit: An American Legend. “This is a storybook fable come to life” says director Stephen Ives, “it’s an inspiring sports saga and a fascinating glimpse into the heart and soul of Depression-era America.”

From his humble beginnings as a underfed, over-worked three-year-old in 1936, to the gut-wrenching personal trials of his jockey Red Pollard, from his triumphant match-race against the triple-crown winner, War Admiral, at Pimlico in 1938, to his unlikely victory in the Santa Anita hundred-grander, Seabiscuit came to symbolize the aspirations of his age. The horse “came along in the worst years of the Depression,” says Hillenbrand. “Americans … wanted a hero that came from the wrong side of the tracks that was beat up like they were. For a brief moment in America, a little brown racehorse wasn’t just a little brown racehorse. He was the proxy for the nation.”

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At once a timeless story of dazzling triumph in the face of relentless adversity, and a portrait of the national mood amidst the profound uncertainty of the 1930s,Seabiscuit offers a rare glimpse at the way in which Americans have always crowned their heroes. Variously praised as “essential viewing,” “superior television,” and a “wire-to-wire winner,” the film was named best documentary of the year by Sports Illustrated magazine and awarded a 2003 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing. Seabiscuit was produced by Stephen Ives and Eve Morgenstern, directed by Stephen Ives, and written by Michelle Ferrari. Scott Glenn narrates.