AUSTIN, Texas – The latest 30 for 30 documentary, which will be screened here Wednesday as X Games Austin 2015 unfolds this week, was inspired by Craig Ryan’s “Magnificent Failure.”
That’s the title of the book that tells the tale of pioneering extreme sports athlete Nick Piantanida, a truck driver who in the 1960s set out to parachute from the edge of space. Over the course of a year, his dream to launch the first civilian space program drove him to obsession.
Piantanida’s story moved director Jeff Tremaine to make the 30 for 30 documentary “Angry Sky” (see trailer below). Executive produced by BMX legend Mat Hoffman, Vice President and Executive Producer, ESPN Films, John Dahl and Senior Vice President, ESPN Films and Original Content, Connor Schell, the film will debut July 30 (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET).
The advanced screening at the Alamo Draft House – the night before the X Games open – will help raise funds for the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund at The V Foundation and the Central Texas Red Cross, which is assisting the Texas flood relief efforts.
Hoffman introduced Tremaine to Ryan’s 2003 book.
“After I read it, it became obvious that it would be a compelling documentary,” Tremaine said. “The main challenge in making it was finding enough footage to support telling the story. This happened in 1966. But luckily, Nick had a film crew following him and we were able to track down that footage. We also had great support from his family and the surviving members of his team.”
Said Hoffman: “I identified so much with [Piantanida’s] passions, his family and the commitment it takes to do what others see as impossible. His is a story of a man who dreamed the impossible and didn’t need anyone to share that dream. A truck driver from New Jersey who had a dream and made it happen. It was a story that had to be told.”
When originally planned, the proceeds from the Austin event’s ticket sales and a silent auction were to exclusively benefit the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund at The V Foundation. But with the flooding that has affected Texas, the X Games added Central Texas Red Cross as a beneficiary as well – an addition in line with broader efforts by X Games, Circuit of the Americas and ESPN Corporate Citizenship to assisting the Texas flood relief by donating a portion of X Games ticket sales to the Central Texas Red Cross.
“X Games is a part of the communities where we hold our events,” said Amy Lupo, X Games’ senior director, event marketing and content strategy. “Communities do what they can to help each other in challenging times, and with the difficult times that communities in Texas have been facing it just seemed right to see how we could do a little more to help.”