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Ava DuVernay Directing Venus Williams Feature Doc 'Venus VS' For ESPN Films

by Tambay A. Obenson
September 7, 2012 10:56 AM
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ESPN Films is fast becoming an industry powerhouse in sports filmmaking specifically. Following the success of its 30 for 30 series of films, and now inspired by the 40th anniversary of Title IX (a 1972 education amendment, also known as the Equal Opportunity in Education Act, which states (in part) that... no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance)... ESPN Films will air a series of nine documentaries in spring and summer of 2013 that will highlight women in sports - all films directed by women filmmakers. 

One of the 9 projects, titled Venus VS, is directed by Ava DuVernay (Middle Of Nowhere), described as "an in-depth documentary that explores tennis star Venus Williams’ fight for fair pay at Wimbledon."

Venus VS is produced by DuVernay and Howard Barish, with Robin Roberts and Jane Rosenthal executive producing.

Both DuVernay and Venus Williams will be present at the Toronto International Film Festival - DuVernay for the international premiere of Middle Of Nowhere, and Venus Williams will be seen in Venus And Serena, the feature documentary directed by Maiken Baird and Michelle Major, which will give audiences an honest and unfiltered look into the lives of the sisters and tennis legends.

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  • Priss | September 9, 2012 11:14 AMReply

    Feels like a formidable match of subject and director. Very promising. Good for Duverney for breaking the Sundance curse. I can't think of any recent black Sundance director who made another film in the same year they played Park City. I might be wrong but she seems on a roll. This begs a question. Where are the next movies of people we champion here? I think Andrew Donsunmo of Restless City has made another. What's the schedule of next projects from our brightest? Or are they destined to be never heard from again? I'm over the one indie hit wonders. Been watching them come and go for decades. Decades. Whose gunna stick? We need another Spike. I'll say it another Tyler. We need more than another. We need many.

  • Ava | September 7, 2012 7:14 PMReply

    I will be looking forward to this.

  • ALM | September 7, 2012 6:18 PMReply

    ESPN Films will air a series of nine documentaries in spring and summer of 2013 that will highlight women in sports - all films directed by women filmmakers. <<I love this concept and the tie in with Title IX. I am not a sports fan, but I am both an Ava and Venus fan, so I will watch.

  • Critical Acclaim | September 7, 2012 1:56 PMReply

    Now this sounds strong.

  • Encouraged | September 7, 2012 11:31 AMReply

    I'm encouraged by the grind. This woman seems always to be working.

  • JEN A. | September 7, 2012 2:17 PM


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