Friday, June 14, 2013

ESPN to Debut Venus Williams film on July 2

(June 14, 2013)--ESPN announced that it will debut a new film about Venus Williams and her struggle to aid women's tennis in the pursuit of equal prize money. Entitled "Venus Vs," the film will air on Tuesday July 2 on ESPN.

Here's the press clip, via ESPN Media:

"Earlier this year, ESPN Films and espnW announced the film slate for Nine for IX, a documentary series focused on captivating stories of women in sports told through the lens of female filmmakers. Nine for IX film topics include an intimate look at Pat Summitt, college sports’ most successful coach ever; the largely unknown history of Katarina Witt and her link with East Germany’s secret police; and the focus of sex in the marketing of female athletes."

The series – from the producers of the critically acclaimed “30 for 30” film series – will premiere on Tuesday, July 2, on ESPN with Venus Vs and the films will air over consecutive Tuesday evenings at 8pm ET.

For those unfamiliar, Venus Williams led the charge for equal prize money, during the mid-2000s, and her efforts helped lead to equal prize money at Roland Garros in 2006, and finally Wimbledon in 2007.

On the eve of her 2005 Wimbledon final with Lindsay Davenport, Williams accompanied then-WTA commissioner Larry Scott, making her case before the Grand Slam Committee.

“Venus made her point in very articulate fashion,” Scott said in a telephone interview with the New York Times. “It had to leave a very meaningful impression on anyone there. You couldn’t just write it off as suits arguing on the players’ behalf. There was no doubt that it was a heartfelt position."

The film blends together a plethora of archived video, news reports, and interviews with such luminaries as John McEnroe and Billie Jean King, both of which lent creative support to the director.

Fittingly, Williams won the first Wimbledon that offered equal prize money, defeating Marion Bartoli in the final. The director meshes a clip of Billie Jean King speaking into highlights of Williams' milestone victory, bringing the film to an emotional crescendo. "Venus was the only one since probably my generation that's had this drive to want to change this equal prize money," King says. "I think it was really a blessing, believe me. I'm really thrilled that she stepped up."