Netflix will premiere an original six-part documentary series “Last Chance U” on July 29, 2016 exclusively to Netflix members worldwide. Directed by Greg Whiteley, “Last Chance U” is a “character driven, gut-wrenching” behind-the-scenes look at the world of college football.
“Last Chance U” follows a group of young men training to become the future stars of the NFL. The football players are the latest recruits to East Mississippi Community College (EMCC), an undefeated team with 3 National Championship wins over four years under their belt. The EMCC Lions have become a phenomenon in junior college sports, attracting elite athletes, some of whom have been held back by poor academic performance or behavioral issues. Under Coach Buddy Stephens, one of the most successful but least known athletic programs, EMCC graduates more than 20 players per year into football scholarships at four year universities, and nine of his former players currently play in the NFL.
“Following the groundbreaking ‘Mitt,’ we jumped at the opportunity to work again with director Greg Whiteley,” said Lisa Nishimura, Netflix VP of Original Documentary Programming. “He brings an honest and intimate lens to all his subjects, immediately creating a connection between the viewer and these young, complex subjects. You are invited into their world and feel immediately invested in the high stakes of their lives.”
“Considering the school’s recent success, and after meeting some of the people from Scooba, Mississippi, we felt that chances were high that we would be filming one of those special seasons,” said director Greg Whiteley. “What we ended up capturing was something none of us could’ve ever predicted.”
The members of the team have subjected themselves to the heat and isolation of a town called Scooba — population 712 — and to an imposing coach whose singular obsession with winning, rivals that of legends like Bobby Knight or Mike Ditka. As the Lions strive for their fourth National Championship, the players struggle to keep up the pace in the classroom. Brittany Wagner, a vivacious single-mother and an advisor to the team, whose own success is equally dependent on the academic achievements of the players, does everything she can to keep the guys focused, papers turned in on time, and eligible to play ball.
As the players continue to contend with their own personal challenges and teeter on the edge of success or failure, “Last Chance U” takes audiences on a journey to understand the real men beneath the helmets. Each of them has incredible drive to be the best, but each of them also has unique distractions and conflicts both on and off the field. The series follows the Lions as they enter another season of crushing their opponents, courting recruiters and enduring the physical intensity of this level of football. As their season takes an unexpected turn, the methods of this unconventional team are deeply called into question. With much to lose, they are constantly reminded of the stakes.
Inspired by a feature article in GQ magazine, “Last Chance U” is a Netflix production in association with Condé Nast Entertainment, Endgame Entertainment and One Potato Productions. The series is produced by Adam Leibowitz and Adam Ridley; Greg Whiteley is Director and Executive Producer; Lisa Nishimura, Jihan Robinson, Benjamin Cotner, Joe Labracio, Dawn Ostroff, James D. Stern and Lucas Smith serve as Executive Producers.
“Last Chance U” is the latest project in Netflix’s slate of original documentary and docu-series programming, including “Making a Murderer, Oscar-nominated films “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” “What Happened, Miss Simone?,” “The Square” and “Virunga” as well as the Emmy-nominated docu-series “Chef’s Table.”