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ESPN Jumps Through the Fire

ESPN Inc. announced its first-ever film acquisition Tuesday.

The network acquired the home-entertainment, theatrical and television rights to critically acclaimed independent documentary Through the Fire, which follows Sebastian Telfair, now with the National Basketball Association’s Portland Trail Blazers, through his senior year in high school.

ESPN will air Through the Fire -- which premiered at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival and was directed by eight-time Emmy Award-winner Jonathan Hock -- Sunday, March 12, following the men’s NCAA basketball-tournament-selection special.

The network added that Through the Fire will be available on DVD from Buena Vista Home Entertainment two days after its ESPN debut, and the DVD will feature exclusive bonus content from the ESPN archives and behind-the-scenes material from the making of the documentary.

“With this film, we’re placing our viewers into the world of an athlete who is on the brink of fame and fortune and struggling to make life-altering decisions about his career, his education and his family,” ESPN Original Entertainment senior vice president Ron Semiao said in a prepared statement.

“This very well-produced film is as compelling a human story as it gets, poignant and triumphant, but gritty throughout,” he added.