Commentary

ESPN Films: Roll Tide War Eagle

Updated: November 8, 2011, 7:22 PM ET
By Staff | ESPN.com

FILM SUMMARY

There are many great rivalries in sports: Yankees-Red Sox, Michigan-Ohio State, North Carolina-Duke. But they don't compare to the venomous and consuming in-state college football rivalry that is Alabama-Auburn. With no pro sports, the state of Alabama centers around one game in the year: The annual meeting between the two universities called the "Iron Bowl." And you could not script what has transpired in the state in the past two years.

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On the field, each school celebrated a national title, Heisman Trophy winner and Iron Bowl win. Outside the lines, the rivalry has taken a twisted turn, with a stunning tale of poisoned trees and a historic force of mother nature that brought both sides of this split state together.

This one-hour film takes you on an unpredictable and unforgettable journey through the history of bad blood that runs between the two programs -- all told through the eyes of the school's Hall of Fame icons, the controversial figures that launched this rivalry into the national spotlight, all the way down to its passionate roots -- the fans.

MEET THE DIRECTOR

Martin Khodabakhshian was born in London, England in 1975, but spent most of his childhood in Minneapolis, Minn. He spent his high school and college years in California, becoming a three-sport athlete and salutatorian at Jesuit High School in Carmichael, then graduating from the University of California-Davis in 1997 with a degree in rhetoric and communications.

Martin has 16 years of television experience and is now a nine-time National Sports Emmy Award-winning senior producer at ESPN. Martin earned three consecutive Emmys in the short and long form features categories, from 2007-2009. He has won two Edward R. Murrow Awards for sports reporting (2008/2010), back-to-back National Headliner Awards in 2009 and 2010, and a 2008 Prism Award. Working for ESPN since 2001, Martin currently manages and oversees other producers and produces high-end features for the Emmy Award-winning magazine show "E:60." "Roll Tide/War Eagle" is his second film. This past year, on his own time and budget, Martin directed and produced his first independent film entitled "Breathe," about world-record free diver William Trubridge.

Martin is married and has been together with his wife, Shalom, for 11 years. They have three children, Julianne Rose, 12; Roman Sky, 4; and Lila Grace 2.