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How Gotham Chopra convinced Tom Brady to reveal himself for ‘Tom vs. Time’

For his follow-up to the acclaimed Religion of Sportsseries, documentary filmmaker Gotham Chopra turns his attention to superstar quarterback Tom Brady in Tom vs. Time, a six-part series exclusively on Facebook Watch. In collaborating with Brady, Chopra gained intimate access to the five-time Super Bowl champion, capturing content with him across the United States and beyond, to China and Costa Rica. In this Q&A, Chopra tells us about the making of the series, from the earliest discussions about the project with the famously guarded quarterback, to him eventually signing on, and a look behind the curtain of Brady’s complex world.

Q: You grew up in Boston as a massive Patriots fan. How hard was it to put your fandom aside in working with Tom Brady?

Chopra:It was impossible. I met him for the first time in 2012 at his home in the Los Angeles hills and I had to keep it together. For any Boston sports fans who grew up with the embarrassment of the Patriots in the 1980s and ’90s, he’s basically synonymous with them becoming winners. But we became closer as he helped me make Religion of Sports, of which he is an executive producer.

How did you finally convince him to become the subject of a whole series?

Several years ago, I worked with Kobe Bryant on a documentary project called Kobe Bryant’s Muse. While working on that, I shared anecdotes with Tom and pestered him: “We should be doing this with you.” This lasted years! […]


Gotham Chopra reveals how he converted to the ‘Religion of Sports’

After workshopping the idea for five years, Gotham Chopra finally saw his Religion of Sports series debut in the fall of 2016 on the Audience Network. Its original six-episode run was a journey of the power of sports as passion – almost literally a religion for people on every continent on earth. Six more episodes followed a year later. Now, Chopra has pulled in Tom Brady and Michael Strahan as co-founders in Religion of Sports, the media company, and the team has bigger plans. In January, Tom vs. Time – an unprecedented look behind the scenes of the life of Tom Brady – debuted on Facebook Watch. Here, Chopra talks about the origins of Religion of Sports, some of his favorite moments and what lies ahead for the media business.

Q: Where did the idea behind Religion of Sportscome from?

Chopra: I feel like it’s my life! My parents were immigrants from India and I was the first of my family to be born outside of South Asia. I grew up in Boston and sports for me was sort of the classic cultural assimilation. My parents knew nothing about it and really only paid attention when I played sports in school. I totally bought into sports being such a fabric of the culture in the Northeast. I grew up a huge Patriots, Bruins, Celtics and Red Sox fan.

The “religion” part really came out of my upbringing. My father was a Western-trained physician who came to the United States in […]


Gotham Chopra chats with Hidden Remote on storytelling, sports and ‘Why We Fight’

When it comes to sports, Gotham Chopra sees every game, practice, or match as an opportunity for compelling and entertaining storytelling. It’s not about who is the best or who wins, it’s about capturing the drama within every athlete’s path. From overcoming injuries to relishing in the struggle it takes to get up and practice each and every day, it’s filming those unscripted stories that keeps Gotham inspired to create and work in film.

In a recent interview with Hidden Remote, Gotham discusses his beginnings in the world of sports, what it’s like to interview influential athletes and leaders, and his inspiration for Why We Fight, his project for the go90 network, that dives into the world of boxing and martial arts and the individual motivations of those who step into the ring.

Told from the perspective of Los Angeles-based golden gloves champ and pro-boxer Zack Wohlman as he travels the world, Why We Fight chronicles the hard road a fighter must face to achieve greatness — or simply to defeat their own demons. Executive producers Chopra and UFC woman’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey are on a mission to explore a bigger question. What pushes a fighter to dedicate body, mind and spirit to a sport that can take everything and still ask for more? The answers are as different as the people who choose this punishing path. Read Gotham’s full interview with Hidden Remote hereto learn more about the genesis of Why We Fight, or watch it here. […]


Kobe Bryant: The Man Behind The Jerseys

When Kobe Bryant ended his legendary NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2016, he had quite a few wins, records and honors to his name.

As a five-time NBA champion and 18-time All-Star selection, Bryant wrapped up his career as the Lakers’ leader in points, games played, 3-pointers, steals and free throws. Bryant by the numbers is impressive, to say the least.

Come December, Bryant will be adding another record to the list: number of jerseys retired.

The Lakers recently announced that not one — but two — of Bryant’s jerseys will officially be retired when the Lakers play the Golden State Warriors on December 18, making him the first player in NBA history to have two numbers retired by the same team.

During his 20 years spent with the Lakers, Bryant proved just what it takes to be a top athlete — a story that’s captured seamlessly in Showtime’s documentary, Kobe Bryant’s Muse. The documentary showcases the grit, determination and heart that led to a celebrated career and, more recently, two retired jerseys.

Kobe Bryant’s Musetakes fans beyond the stats and goes straight to the man himself, highlighting the beginnings of his relationship with basketball and the highs and lows of his career, from wins and injuries to mentors and daily rituals.

From the retiring of two Bryant jerseys to the tale told in Kobe Bryant’s Muse,”one thing is for sure: Whether Bryant was donning the number 8 or 24, his story is anything but ordinary and his influence is […]


Religion of Sports Season 2 Premieres November 15

The first season of Religion of Sports showcased the transcendental power of sports and how they impact societies across the globe. The second season, set to premiere November 15th, aims to do the same—but this time, we go even further across the globe. Bringing viewers back into the world of sports, season 2 showcases the power and prominence that sports have in impacting cultures, countries,  individuals, and identities.

Whether it’s the monumental moments on the field, the feeling you get working hard to compete, or the community built from watching your team play, the power of sports is an undeniable and unifying force, and the second season of Religion of Sports continues to tell these tales.

Catch a sneak peek at what’s in store for season 2 by checking out the trailer below, and be sure to tune in November 15th at 8pm ET/PT on AT&T AUDIENCE Network for the season premiere.


Getting in the Zone: How Michael Phelps and Other Top Athletes Prepare

In the summer of 2016, Michael Phelps left it all in the pool in his final Olympic performance. But debatably the most memorable image of Phelps from Rio was one outside of the pool – the image of him sitting stone-faced, hood up and headphones on, as long-time competitor Chad le Clos of South Africa shadowboxed directly in front of him. The viral image speaks volumes of the competitors, but lays out even more clearly one of sport’s most intriguing elements: how athletes prepare for their moment.

There’s a lot to be said about the days and months leading up to competition; the strict diets followed and intense schedules are almost as impressive as the athletes’ incredible performances. Each athlete seems to have their unique and often superstitious response to the pressure of competition.

Take Michael Phelps for example. The swimmer-savant slaps his back with his arm swing three times before every meet. Four time NBA MVP and Cleveland Cavaliers legend LeBron James tosses chalk into the air. Field Hockey player Alex Danson spins her hockey stick 15 times before each game. We see it in each and every sport, these athletes are committed to their routine that helps amp them up to dominate the game.

Do these rituals work? Experts say yes, but mainly for the internal shift they give you. Sticking to a ritual gives the athlete the confidence and feeling of control that they often need to succeed at the highest level.

These […]


Variety Spotlights Ronda Rousey’s ‘Why We Fight’

“Why We Fight,” will premiere on Verizon’s Go90 at the end of the month. The docu-series is executive produced by UFC’s first female bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and produced by Religion of Sports and Dirty Robber. The eight episode story follows young boxer Zachary “Kid Yamaka” Wohlman as he travels the world, connecting with other fighters and learning what motivates them to step into the ring.

As Variety reports, Wohlman grew up in the San Fernando Valley and developed a drug addition, which he continues to challenge himself to overcome. He sets off to heal himself through boxing during the series, starting in Tijuana, Mexico in the first episode.

The series is comprised of eight 45-minute episodes that will be released on Go90, Verizon’s free video service, starting October 18th. Watch it here.


Season 2 of Religion of Sports Premieres at Tribeca TV Festival

The first episode of Religion of Sports’ second season premiered at Tribeca TV Festival this past weekend. The episode screening was followed by a Q&A with executive producers Gotham Chopra and Michael Strahan.

The second season of the show incorporates everything fans have grown to love from the first, highlighting just how impactful sports are across mediums, countries, individuals, and identities. Over the course of the season, we venture further away from US borders and mainstream sports, covering everything from ultra cycling to rugby.

Episode One takes us to St. Pauli, a liberal district in Hamburg, Germany that has recently received a large number of refugees. The local soccer team, FC St. Pauli, has sponsored an amateur soccer team for the local refugees called FC Lampedusa, that has in turn developed its own sort of community. This sense of communal strength and identity hits straight to the core of the show’s theme, evidenced by the sense of belonging and home these refugees find within their local league.

Religion of Sports premieres on AT&T AUDIENCE Network this fall.


Why Sports Matter

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.”
Nelson Mandela

On the surface, sports might seem to be about wins and losses, celebrity status athletes, and physical domination. But, as Mandela pointed out, sports are about much more than that. Sports unite and inspire in a transformative way.

Sports provide a system of beliefs. They teach lifelong lessons through their stories and show us countless miracles. Sports mirror religion in the way that they unite and inspire people, from those deeply involved to those watching from afar.

We see it often on the world stage. From the Chicago Cubs first world series in 108 years to Usain Bolt completing his Olympic triple triple, there have been countless moments in even the past year that remind us how inspiring sports are. These wins reverberate through communities, cities, countries, and throughout the world and embolden in a way that only sports can.

But it’s not just on the biggest stages that sports lead, inspire, and connect. In Religion of Sports first season, we see it in the rituals of NASCAR and the dedication and heart break on the road to the Calgary Stampede. These stories prove how invaluable sports are to both fans and athletes alike. “People draw meaning and purpose from sports the same way we do from religion, and I think that’s kind of the lens we’ve brought and I have been obsessed with for […]


A Look Back at Religion of Sports Season One

Season one of Religion of Sports kicked off last year with six episodes that drew on tropes of religion, from rituals to miracles and gods, and how those themes manifest across various sports. Created by Tom Brady, Michael Strahan, and Gotham Chopra, the series premiered with hourlong episodes that explored the dynamics of sports beyond just their entertainment or surface-level values, instead focusing on their intersection with society and culture in a more impactful way.

Airing on AT&T’s Audience Network last November, each chapter looks at the varied world of sports, from NASCAR to the Calgary Stampede, baseball in Brooklyn, MMA fighting, e-sports, and even a storied football rivalry in Glasgow. While the show takes a global scope, every episode hones in on individual narratives and interviews, looking in on the community members who give and receive so much to their favorite games.

From a story of sacrifice in the midst of heartbreak with Cat Zingano in Alpha + Omega, to the long history of baseball in Brooklyn, Religion of Sports’ first season offers compelling true stories filled with the emotional resonance that pays testament to the idea of sports as a religion. Season two picks up where the first left off, with another six episodes covering sports like rock climbing, fencing, soccer in German refugee camps, and baseball in the American prison system.

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