Eva Longoria at the Tribeca Film Festival. Photo: Getty Images
Eva Longoria has produced a series of short documentary films for ESPN, which will air on the network beginning in May. At a Tribeca Film Festival talk on Saturday, Longoria explained that the films are “sports-adjacent.” “We’re always hearing these amazing stories about athletes overcoming and winning the gold medal, or overcoming a personal injury and overcoming an opponent, and I said what if that obstacle was off the field? What if the obstacle was a moral obstacle?”
Longoria directed the one short screened at the festival, Go Sebastien Go, about Sebastien De La Cruz, the 11-year-old San Antonio boy who was the victim of racist tweets after singing the national anthem at a Spurs game. “He’s fifth generation American, his father fought in the Navy, and it was amazing that our country reacted that way to an 11-year-old,” Longoria told Yahoo Style. “And so the greatest thing about the story is how he handled it, and what came of that particular incident, and it’s a beautiful story that I think should be told.”
Another film in the series, about Hispanic NFL players Tom Flores and Jim Plunkett, was directed by Ricardo Chavira, who played Longoria’s husband, Carlos, on Desperate Housewives.
And another is about Surya Bonaly, the French ice skater who did the first backflip, and the racism she experienced when she was an ice skater. That film was directed by Parks and Recreation star Retta, who was also on hand.
Retta at the Tribeca Film Festival. Photo: Getty Images
Longoria has produced a number of films. Why focus on the sports world now? “I love everything about sports,” she said. “I’m very competitive in my own life, so I love the competition aspect of everything. But you know what, I always say athletes truly have a talent. I mean, so do singers; I think actors are the only ones who, like, we’re kind of cheating,” she said, laughing.
Longoria also offered her thoughts on another sports-adjacent news story, Olympic champion Bruce Jenner’s revelation that he is transitioning to female. “Isn’t that amazing?” she said. She does believe that the sports world is becoming more tolerant. “I mean, I think you have to evolve. Everybody’s evolving in this world to be more tolerant of everything, whether it’s sexual orientation, gender, socio-economic status. I think everybody’s understanding we’re all human, and so we all have to live on this planet together, and be accepting of one another.”
Retta says Jenner is brave. “I think he’s pretty amazing to be that open, to particularly have come from a place where people knew him as a huge sportsman. I mean, he was on freakin’ Wheaties, dude, you know. So to come from Wheaties, to come from - he’s got a billion kids, he’s been married to very bold and visible women, and lived in a home that was FILLED with bold and visible women, to come out and say, ‘By the way, would like to be one of the gals.’ And I don’t know how he’s doing it, but god bless, and I wish him all the best. I think it’s more than brave to put with some of the shit you know he’s putting up with.”
Retta also thinks that sports organizations are becoming more accepting of differences, but she’s not sure that fans are, at least yet. “But I feel that people are going to have to keep up, or find themselves on the wrong side of public opinion, and in which case, find themselves becoming the minority,” she told Yahoo Style. “People tend to move towards the majority, if at all possible. If enough people have an opinion about something, and they make good points, chances are you can be swayed to be more tolerant.”