CNN Films & HBO Max Team for Arthur Ashe Doc


CNN Films and HBO Max are partnering with Dogwoof, Emmy Award winner Rex Miller and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Sam Pollard for Citizen Ashe, a documentary exploring the legacy of tennis great and humanitarian Arthur Ashe.

Using a mix of archival newsreel and family footage, the doc follows Ashe’s personal evolution, beginning with a youth deeply influenced by his early tennis mentor and the death of his mother. Ashe, who would have turned 78 this month, died of AIDS-related complications in 1993. Alongside his tennis career, Ashe was involved in off-court activism on behalf of civil rights, global human rights and compassion for those afflicted by HIV.

Miller and Pollard are co-directors for Citizen Ashe, which is produced by Beth Hubbard, Dogwoof CEO Anna Godas, Steven Cantor and Jamie Schutz.

The new documentary feature will be presented by CNN Films and HBO Max in 2022.

Miller said, “Our film is a first-person exploration of Arthur Ashe in his own words, describing his own origin story as a social activist. He created a unique blueprint for advancing civil rights for disenfranchised and oppressed people throughout the world, amid a tumultuous time of demonstrations and assassinations. Citizen Ashe shows a true champion’s defining moments.”

Pollard added: “I was a teenager in the 1960s and remember the extraordinary achievements of Arthur Ashe on the tennis court. But I knew little of the obstacles and challenges he faced on and off the court in the white world of professional tennis. Working on this film has been an absolute eyeopener into the man, and the player, who faced all of his challenges with a level of dignity and integrity we should all try to measure up to.”

“It is an honor to raise the story of Arthur Ashe; a champion of human rights who used his platform to fight against social injustice with grace, dignity, and courage,” said Hubbard.

“Arthur’s story is so inspiring and relevant to what’s happening today. It’s been an extraordinary journey to produce this film with Beth Hubbard, and I couldn’t think of better partners than CNN Films and HBO Max to bring it to an audience,” said Godas.

“Rex, Sam, Beth and Anna, have made an inspirational film that reveals a complex, brilliant athlete who used his celebrity to focus attention on injustice in America, and beyond,” said Amy Entelis, executive VP for talent and content development for CNN Worldwide and an executive producer for Citizen Ashe. “Every person who seeks to make a difference in the world will be moved by the stirring example of Arthur Ashe.”

Mike Jackson on behalf of Get Lifted Film Co. and his partners, John Legend and Ty Stiklorius, commented: “We are so excited to be partnering with Rex, Sam, Beth and the filmmaking teams at Dogwoof, Rexpix, and Stick Figure Productions to tell Arthur Ashe’s incredible story. His inspiring work as an athlete and activist is what makes this project meaningful and we look forward to sharing Ashe’s story through CNN Films and HBO Max.”