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FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films Premiere “The Collectors” Shorts Series


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FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films unveil today the first film of the digital shorts series The Collectors, the latest project from content unit Exit 31.  The ten-film series, available exclusively on FiveThirtyEight, WatchESPN and ABC News, tells the stories of an eclectic group of characters collecting data, ranging from the official scorer at a baseball game, to a meteorologist tracking hurricanes. Each of the shorts depicts how these individuals gather information, and how their judgment in translating ambiguity into hard numbers can shape how the world is viewed and interpreted.

Titled Food Cartographers, the first short presents Boulder, Colo.-based urban cartographers Caleb Phillips and Ethan Welty, who are seeking to solve urban hunger for future generations by changing the functionality of city agriculture. In the film, Phillips and Welty explain how in creating the non-profit urban land inventory, Falling Fruit, they aim to take advantage of the diversity of fruits and vegetables available in our own backyards to source local and sustainable foods.  Food Cartographers is directed by Jamie Schutz.

The Collectors will debut subsequent episodes every three to four weeks. The next short premieres January 14, 2015. One of the upcoming films from the series, titled Beekeping, will also be screened at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. All of the films in The Collectors are produced by Academy Award nominee Steven Cantor, through Stick Figure Studios. Related features and visualizations on will accompany each of the films to provide greater context. ABC News will also support the series through various social outlets.

FiveThirtyEight, which launched as an ESPN entity in 2014, is a data journalism organization delivering compelling stories across the verticals of politics, economy, science, life and sports. The site, founded by award-winning author and statistician Nate Silver, first gained national attention during the 2008 presidential election, when it correctly predicted the results of the presidential election in 49 of 50 states, along with all 35 U.S. Senate races. Since its debut at ESPN, FiveThirtyEight has built a team with a broad set of skills and experiences in order to apply statistical analysis, data visualization, and data-literate reporting to topics in the news and in everyday life.

Created in March 2008, ESPN Films produces high-quality films showcasing some of the most compelling stories in sports. In October 2009, ESPN Films launched its signature 30 for 30 film series, which has since won a Peabody Award, Producer’s Guild Award and an Emmy Award. Inspired by ESPN’s 30th Anniversary, the films that made up the series were a thoughtful and innovative reflection on the past three decades told through the lens of diverse and interesting sports fans and social commentators. The strong reaction from both critics and fans led to the launch of 30 for 30 Volume II, which is currently underway. Additional projects from ESPN Films include the critically-acclaimed Nine for IX series, SEC Storied and the Webby Award- and Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 Shorts.