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Hannah Storm’s “Swoopes” debuts tonight as part of Nine for IX series

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With a schedule packed with co-hosting SportsCenter, preparing an NFL edition of “Face to Face with Hannah Storm” and other projects, Hannah Storm always makes sure to set aside time for another passion of hers: directing and producing films.

A Nine for IX documentary, “Swoopes,” directed by Storm premieres tonight (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) focusing on basketball star Sheryl Swoopes’ life and career from her professional triumphs to her personal struggles.

Front Row caught up with Storm in advance of her film’s debut.

What can viewers look forward to seeing in “Swoopes?”
You’ll see interviews with NBA Commissioner David Stern and Nike Chairman Phil Knight, which illustrates Sheryl’s wide-ranging influence. There are some surprises in the film as well; behind-the-scenes insight into the former Houston Comets star’s inner conflict and Sheryl’s very sad story of her bankruptcy. There are so many elements of her story that will be new to viewers, primarily because she has never told her own story in her own voice.

You’ve had have your own production company, Brainstormin’ Productions, for five years now. How are your other projects (“Unmatched” and “Moving the Goal”) similar to “Swoopes?”
The similarity in all three films is that these women are iconic in their sport but they are telling their own stories at length for the first time. They are sharing very personal elements of their lives, which has been largely unknown by the public, and I think what’s striking about all three of the films is the trust the athletes placed in me by telling me their stories. The raw emotion is remarkable.

What does it mean to you to direct a film that is part of the landmark Nine for IX documentary series?
For me, as a female filmmaker, I’m very aware of the fact that there isn’t a great deal of female filmmakers out there. So for me the business aspect of what ESPN did with Nine for IX is so important. It not only celebrates women on the screen but they gave female filmmakers from all different places of experience opportunities behind the camera to create their vision. For me, Nine for IX is multilayered and in a really practical sense I think has helped to move forward the cause of female filmmakers by placing our projects on such an incredible platform.

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