A new documentary about Richard Williams, the father of tennis greats Serena and Venus Williams, has sold into major markets.
“On the Line: The Richard Williams Story,” which had its U.K. premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest in June, has been sold into Sky (U.K. and Italy), Canal+ (France), MNET (South Africa), Paramount+ (Australia) and TVNZ (New Zealand).
The film paints a complex portrait of the life, career and impact of Williams — the family patriarch and tennis coach to Venus and Serena Williams, who was also portrayed by Will Smith in the 2022 movie “King Richard.”
In the documentary, Williams provides rare home video footage and candid interviews to detail the family’s unprecedented gate-crashing in the 1990s of a predominately white, upper-class sport. Newly discovered archival footage from the courts in Compton and a roster of interview subjects including Billie Jean King and Pam Shriver, retrace the Williams sisters’ meteoric ascent through the tennis rankings in the face of racial oppression and unconscious bias.
The film examines the Black experience in America, and reflects the resilience and determination required by the family to prove their sceptics wrong.
“On the Line: The Richard Williams Story” is directed by Stuart McClave, produced by ChaVam’s Chavoita LeSane, High Frequency Entertainment’s Duncan Montgomery and Jack Selby, Foundation 360’s Gary Ousdahl, and Stuart McClave’s McClave Lumber Company.
Executive producers include Brenda Robinson, Brit Marling, Ashley Coleman, Charlie McDowell, Alex Orlovsky, Mathilde Jourdan, Harry Gamsu, and Bright West Entertainment’s Alex Lieberman and Gary Lieberman. Fremantle is handling global distribution.
The deal was negotiated by Travis Tammero of UTA and Holly Stanton and Joe Cohen of CAA.
Jens Richter, CEO of commercial and international at Fremantle, said: “We are delighted to team up with our esteemed broadcaster partners to share the remarkable story of Richard Williams, in his own words. Mr. Williams granted Stuart McClave and his team unparalleled access and insight to allow them to create an unmissable documentary that will leave audiences across the globe feeling truly inspired.”