Bentley Weiner ’96

Bentley WeinerDEGREE: B.A. in history

JOB TITLE: Vice president, HBO Sports Documentaries 

FAVORITE TRINITY MEMORY: Living in High Rise with my three best friends senior year. We had so much fun. But they still laugh about all the times they’d be done with their work by 9:00 p.m. and getting ready to go out, while I would just be starting to write a history paper due the next morning. I was a consummate procrastinator back then and am pretty sure none of us thought I’d be in a position to be answering this Q&A 25 years later.

What do you do in your role? I am responsible for the acquisition, development, and production of sports documentaries at HBO. Some of the projects I’ve overseen in recent years include the big wave surfing series 100 Foot Wave, the documentary short 38 at the Garden, and the two-part film Tiger.

What was your path to your current position? My first job in television was working as a production assistant at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, which coincided with my graduation. After the games, I headed with my Trinity roommates to New York City, where I eventually landed a job at HBO Sports. I started out as an associate producer on the shows Inside the NFL and On the Record with Bob Costas and worked my way up to producer. In 2008, I began producing and directing the Emmy-winning documentary series 24/7, profiling athletes such as boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, surfing icon Kelly Slater, and hockey star Sidney Crosby in the lead-ups to some of the biggest events in sports. I also directed several feature-length documentaries, including The Many Lives of Nick Buoniconti and Legendary Nights: The Tale of Gatti-Ward. In 2020, after two decades of working in production at HBO, I transitioned to a programming role, overseeing all the sports docs for the company.

What do you enjoy most about your work? When I was producing and directing, I loved meeting and interviewing interesting people; Bill Russell and Tiger Woods are particular highlights. And then I just really enjoyed the process of finding creative ways to tell their stories. These days, my job is to help producers and directors make their films the best they can be, and I’m having a lot of fun with that.

What are your biggest challenges today? It’s a very competitive landscape right now in the TV world with all the networks and streamers searching for great content. We are pitched so many sports stories at HBO but can only tell so many of them. It’s very challenging to make sure we’re picking the right ones!

How did your time at Trinity prepare you for your career? The liberal arts education I received at Trinity helped me tremendously with writing and storytelling, both integral to my job, as did the proximity to downtown Hartford, where I interned at two local television stations. And then there’s the time I spent on the lacrosse field, which helped develop my grasp of the paramount importance of teamwork, something that’s been imperative to every single project I’ve worked on through the years.

Did you have a favorite professor? Who and why? Jack Chatfield. I was only lucky enough to take one American history course with him, but he was fantastic. I brought my history-loving father to his class once when he was visiting me, and Professor Chatfield called on him several times and let him show off. It’s still something my dad talks about today.

What was the most memorable course you took at Trinity? “Contemporary Musical Theater.” I convinced a handful of friends to take it with me, thinking it would be a fun and somewhat easy course. Turns out, it was incredibly difficult, and everyone was mad at me! The good news is I still know and love the whole songbook from Pippin, even if nobody likes to hear me sing it.