ESPN Films: Unguarded


Award-winning filmmaker Jonathan Hock has mastered the art of telling stories about the struggles and triumphs of American hometown heroes. Chris Herren of Fall River, Mass., was a high school basketball standout who battled the pressures of making it big from an early age. After dropping out of Boston College, Chris landed on Jerry Tarkanian's notorious Fresno State team, where players were likely to be found on both police blotters and All-American lists. Chris failed drug tests at BC and Fresno State, but he was so talented that he was drafted into the NBA anyway, ending up with the Boston Celtics. But at the moment he was realizing his childhood dream of becoming a star for the home team, Chris was falling in a 10-year-long spiral of addiction. He bounced from team to team, country to country. Ultimately, Chris, the youngest and most talented of three generations of local heroes, has found redemption and personal fulfillment through the game, but only after it led him literally around the world, down a path of alcohol and drug addiction that nearly killed him.


Jonathan Hock is an eight-time Emmy Award-winning producer, director, writer and editor. Over the course of his 25 years in television and film, Hock's hundreds of credits have ranged from prime-time network programming to independent fiction and nonfiction film. In November 2010, Hock's "The Best That Never Was" premiered to wide acclaim as one of ESPN's Peabody Award-winning "30 for 30" documentaries. Hock's story helped to turn a largely forgotten football player named Marcus Dupree into the No. 2 Twitter trend on the planet.

Hock wrote and directed the feature-length documentary "The Lost Son of Havana," filmed on location in Cuba. Executive produced by the Farrelly brothers, "Lost Son" premiered at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival and later received an Emmy nomination for Best Sports Documentary. Among Hock's other feature-length documentary films, "Through the Fire" earned multiple Best Documentary awards at major film festivals during 2005 and was distributed nationally in theaters in 2006. "The Streak," co-produced with Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos' Milojo Productions, was nominated for an Emmy as Best Sports Documentary in 2008. Other credits include "Michael Jordan To The Max," an internationally distributed IMAX film that Hock wrote and edited. "MJ to the Max" grossed nearly $20,000,000 worldwide.

For television, Hock created and directed ESPN's award-winning "Streetball," which was the longest-running sports reality series. Hock also produced and directed an award-winning series called "Umlando: Through My Father's Eyes," starring Hugh and Sal Masekela, filmed on location in South Africa, which explored the country's history and its rural music and dance traditions.

Hock recently directed and wrote "Off the Rez," a feature-length documentary about a Native American family that leaves the reservation to pursue the American Dream. Its world premiere was at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival.

He served as an executive producer of "Rising -- Rebuilding Ground Zero," a documentary series about the design and construction of the new World Trade Center, for Discovery and Dreamworks, with executive producer Steven Spielberg.

Hock founded The Reel People Film Project, a program of film workshops for at-risk youth in New York City. It was during one of these workshops, in 1995, that Hock met a 15-year-old student named Alastair Christopher from the Farragut housing projects in Brooklyn. Christopher, now 31 years old, was Hock's award-winning DP on "Through the Fire," "The Lost Son of Havana," "Umlando," "The Best That Never Was" and "Unguarded."
Hock lives outside New York City with his wife, Lynn, and sons Eddie, 12, and Joseph, 6.