In its 17th year, the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival features a stellar slate of sports movies. Here are five we can't wait to watch.

By Luis Miguel Echegaray
April 18, 2018

The 17th annual Tribeca Film Festival kicks off on Wednesday and this year's lineup has a great offering for sports fans. Between April 18-29 in New York City, the event—one of the biggest and most influential in independent filmmaking—will host 16 sports films, including documentaries and narrative features. The themes and storylines of the films are as diverse as they are intriguing. 

From Crossroads, about a talented lacrosse team from an underprivileged community in North Carolina, to Sidelined, the 1978 story of a group of NFL cheerleaders and what happened to them when they posed for Playboy magazine, the Tribeca Film Festival gives us a big offering of smart, stimulating movies with compelling subject matters. 

Here are five movies that caught my eye, but rest assured there are more films that will surely grab your attention. I'll be attending the festival throughout the week, so watch out for some reviews as SI brings you more from one of my favorite cultural events of the year. You can check out the film guide and more information on the festival right here.

UNBANNED: THE LEGEND OF AJ1

This film tells the story of how Michael J​ordan's introduction to the NBA and his relationship with Nike created the Air Jordan 1, thus sparking a cultural revolution and the birth of the sneaker craze in America. Thanks to AJ1, sneakers took an important role within the world of sports, culture and even social and political issues and this film explores the significance of MJ, Nike and the power of the Air Jordan. The film's premiere will feature a musical tribute and Air Jordans from Kid Ink, Gizzle and more artists and influencers.

CROSSROADS

This film details the story of students at Charlotte Secondary, a small charter school in North Carolina, and how a group of high school athletes ended up as one of the best lacrosse teams in the state. Coming from an underprivileged background, this team fights on and off the field, learning valuable lessons from their coach Bobby Selkin. It's a movie that seems more than just a journey of sports, and instead a tale of inspiration. 

HOME AWAY

Tribeca Film Festival

Matt Ogens directs another inspiring documentary that speaks volumes in this day and age as it follows three Mexican high school students who everyday have to make their way from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico to Bowie High School in El Paso, Texas. For them, sports are not just an activity but an opportunity for a better life. 

WHEN SHE RUNS

Tribeca Film Festival

Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck bring you this feature telling the story of Kristin, a 20-something wife and mother who risks everything to pursue her passion of competing in the Olympic Games. Filmed with extreme naturalistic and minimalist detail, this movie gives you a raw, microscopic account of what a person goes through in order to reach her athletic dreams. But perhaps more important, it's about hoping for a better life. 

SIDELINED

TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

Galen Summer directs this short documentary that tells the 1978 story of a group of NFL cheerleaders who, after receiving approval from their respective teams, posed for Playboy magazine and ended up dealing with the repercussions that came once the magazine hit the stands. 

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