December 12th, 2019

Magnolia Pictures and Participant Acquire North American Rights to CNN Films, AGC Studios and TIME Studios Executive Produced Documentary ‘JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE’


Participant and Magnolia Pictures announced today that they have acquired North American rights to JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Dawn Porter (TRAPPED, GIDEON’S ARMY). The film chronicles the life and career of the legendary civil rights activist and Democratic Representative from Georgia. Porter and Laura Michalchyshyn produced the film, which was executive produced and financed by CNN Films, AGC Studios and TIME Studios. CNN Films will retain North American broadcast rights, while AGC International, the international sales and distribution arm of AGC Studios, will oversee international distribution rights.

Using interviews and rare archival footage, JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE chronicles Lewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health-care reform and immigration. Using present-day interviews with Lewis, now 79 years old, Porter explores his childhood experiences, his inspiring family and his fateful meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957. In addition to her interviews with Lewis and his family, Porter’s primarily cinéma verité film also includes interviews with political leaders, Congressional colleagues, and other people who figure prominently in his life.

Most recently, CNN Films, Magnolia and Participant partnered on Academy Award®-nominated RBG, which went on to gross more than $14 million at the global box office and was sold to over 30 territories worldwide.

“John Lewis is a shining example of what is great about this country and Dawn Porter has done a wonderful job chronicling his journey,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. “We’re proud to be bringing this film to the public.”

“John Lewis’ unwavering commitment to public service is legendary,” said Porter. “He is the voice of reason in a turbulent time, and we need his leadership today as much as we ever have.  It is thrilling to have so many skilled and prestigious partners to launch this film into the world.  I am incredibly grateful to them all.”

“After partnering on RBG, it’s exciting to be reunited with the dream team of Magnolia and CNN Films on Dawn’s incredibly powerful and inspiring film,” said Diane Weyermann, Chief Content Officer for Participant. “I can’t think of a better moment to share the story of John Lewis and all the work he has done in his fight for equality to ensure that the voices of the people are heard.”

“CNN Films is thrilled to once again partner with Magnolia and Participant for the distribution of Dawn Porter’s wonderful film. Together with AGC and TIME Studios, this documentary is in very capable hands to share the incredible, enduring, essential legacy of John Lewis,” said Amy Entelis, executive vice president for talent and content development for CNN Worldwide.

“TIME Studios is excited to be a part of this project with Dawn Porter,” said Ian Orefice, President of TIME Studios. “This style of storytelling is synonymous with the TIME brand and we look forward to amplifying the story of John Lewis’ legacy as a congressman and activist to new audiences.”

‎”John Lewis is such an inspirational figure and it’s gratifying for us all to see such a capable and proven team of distribution partners come onboard the project,” said AGC Studios’ Stuart Ford.

“I love this film,” said Participant CEO David Linde. “It’s incredibly exciting to get the team back together again on such an inspirational and timely film, and I am delighted to introduce it to audiences.”

In conjunction with the film’s release, Participant is looking to create an impact campaign that celebrates Representative Lewis’ iconic battle for voting rights and help in his fight to ensure that every eligible voter has access to the polls in 2020.

Previously, Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films paired for the successful distribution of seven other films: LOVE, GILDA, about the trailblazing comedienne; BLACKFISH, about orcas in captivity; STEVE JOBS: The Man in the Machine, a biography of the tech inventor; ÉVOCATEUR: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie, about the provocative talk show host; LIFE ITSELF, about the life of film critic Roger Ebert; WHITEY: United States of America v. James J. Bulger, about the notorious Boston crime boss; and SUNSHINE SUPERMAN, about the father of BASE jumping.  CNN Films and Participant Media collaborated for the distribution of Ivory Tower, about the skyrocketing cost of an American college education.  AGC Studios and CNN Films have also recently partnered for the production and distribution of LADY BOSS: The Jackie Collins Story. CNN Films, AGC Studios, and Magnolia Pictures collaborated on the recent release of SCANDALOUS: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER.

Directed by Dawn Porter, JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE is produced by Porter and Laura Michalchyshyn for Trilogy Films, with Erika Alexander and Ben Arnon of Color Farm Media. Executive producers are Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann for Participant; Amy Entelis and Courtney Sexton for CNN Films; Stuart Ford for AGC Studios; Rachel Traub; and Ian Orefice and Mike Beck for TIME Studios;

The deal was negotiated by Magnolia EVP Dori Begley and Magnolia SVP of Acquisitions John Von Thaden with Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz on behalf of the filmmakers, and by Stacey Wolf, SVP of business affairs and Kelly MacLanahan, assistant general counsel, for CNN Worldwide on behalf of CNN Films. For Participant, the deal was negotiated by SVP of Business & Legal Affairs, Danice Woodley.


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The leading independent film distributor for nearly 20 years, Magnolia Pictures is the theatrical and home entertainment distribution arm of the Wagner/Cuban Companies. Recent releases include Cannes Best Actress prize-winning sci-fi feature LITTLE JOE; SCANDALOUS: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER; MISTER AMERICA, a new comedy starring Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington; RAISE HELL: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS, a new documentary about the trailblazing Texas journalist that world-premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Festival Favorites Audience Award at SXSW; TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM, celebrating the life and career of the trailblazing literary icon; 2018 Cannes Palme d’Or winner and Oscar-nominated SHOPLIFTERS, from renowned Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-Eda; SUPPORT THE GIRLS, Andrew Bujalski’s critically lauded film starring New York Film Critics Circle Best Actress award winner Regina Hall; Box office sensation and Oscar-nominated RBG, award-winning filmmakers Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s documentary about the consequential life and legal legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Ruben Östlund’s 2017 Cannes Palme d’Or winner and Oscar-nominated THE SQUARE; and Raoul Peck and James Baldwin’s Oscar-nominated I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO. Upcoming releases include CUNNINGHAM, director Alla Kovgan’s immersive documentary on visionary American choreographer Merce Cunningham; Toronto International Film Festival Opening Night Gala Presentation ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND; Romanian crime thriller THE WHISTLERS, which world-premiered in competition at Cannes; SLAY THE DRAGON, an urgent and eye-opening documentary about gerrymandering; TWO OF US, the feature directorial debut of France-based Italian filmmaker Filippo Meneghetti; and COLLECTIVE, a jaw-dropping expose of corruption at the highest levels of government.



Magnolia Pictures International is the sales arm of Magnolia Pictures, overseeing a diverse catalog of more than 100 features from Magnolia Pictures and 2929 Productions. Over the years, Magnolia International has worked on the international distribution of many ground-breaking documentaries including RBG, LO AND BEHOLD: REVERIES OF THE CONNECTED WORLD, THE WOLFPACK, and IRIS; critically-acclaimed narratives such as LUCKY, TANGERINE, GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK, and TWO LOVERS; and genre films XX, THE EYES OF MY MOTHER, TROLLHUNTER, and HONEYMOON. 2019 films include Sundance documentaries HAIL SATAN? and THE BRINK, survival thriller BODY AT BRIGHTON ROCK and Horror/Western THE WIND.



Founded by Chairman Jeff Skoll and under the leadership of CEO David Linde, Participant ( combines the power of a good story well told with real world impact and awareness around today’s most vital issues. Through its worldwide network of traditional and digital distribution, aligned with partnerships with key non-profit and NGO organizations, Participant speaks directly to the rise of today’s “conscious consumer,” representing the well over 2 billion consumers compelled to make meaningful content a priority focus.

As an industry content leader, Participant annually produces up to six narrative feature films, five documentary films, three episodic television series, and more than 30 hours of digital short form programming, through its digital subsidiary SoulPancake. Participant’s more than 100 films, including WONDER, CONTAGION, LINCOLN, THE HELP, CITIZENFOUR, RBG, FOOD, INC., and AN INCONVENIENT TRUTHhave collectively earned 73 Academy Award® nominations and 18 wins, including Best Picture for SPOTLIGHT and GREEN BOOK and Best Foreign Language Film for ROMA and A FANTASTIC WOMAN. Participant’s digital division, SoulPancake (, is an award-winning provider of thought-provoking, joyful, and uplifting content including such widely popular series as Kid President and The Science of Happiness and reaches an audience of over 9 million fans. Follow Participant Media on Twitter (@Participant) and on Facebook and Instagram. Follow SoulPancake on Twitter (@soulpancake) and on Facebook and Instagram.


CNN Films produces and acquires documentary feature and short films for theatrical and festival exhibition and distribution across CNN’s multiple platforms.  Amy Entelis, executive vice president of talent and content development, oversees the strategy for CNN Films; Courtney Sexton, senior vice president for CNN Films, works day-to-day with filmmakers to oversee projects.  For more information about CNN Films, please visit and follow @CNNFilms via Twitter.  Recent acclaimed CNN Films include the Academy Award®-nominated and Emmy® Award-winning RBG, directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen; Emmy® Award-nominated LOVE, GILDA, directed by Lisa D’Apolito; the Emmy® Award-nominated Three Identical Strangers, directed by Tim Wardle; HALSTON, directed by Frédéric Tcheng; APOLLO 11 and APOLLO 11: First Steps Edition, both directed by Todd Douglas Miller and currently in exhibition; and LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE, directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman and, SCANDALOUS: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER, directed by Mark Landsman.



AGC Studios was founded and launched by Chairman and CEO Stuart Ford in February 2018 as a platform to develop, produce, finance and globally license a diverse portfolio of feature films, scripted, unscripted and factual television, digital and musical content from its dual headquarters in Los Angeles and London. The new studio’s Hollywood output has a wide-ranging multicultural focus, designed for exploitation across an array of global platforms including major studio partnerships, streaming platforms, traditional broadcast and cable television networks and independent distributors, both in the US and internationally.

AGC Studios is initially backed by three key strategic investors: Latin American private asset management firm MediaNet Partners; Image Nation Abu Dhabi, one of the leading media and entertainment companies in the Arabic-speaking world; and leading Silicon Valley entrepreneur and chairman of Fibonacci Films, Greg Clark. Chief Operating Officer Miguel Palos is also a stakeholder in and co-founder of the business with Ford.

AGC Studios has three principal operating subsidiaries covering production, distribution and finance. AGC Productions develops and produces a diverse multicultural slate of mainstream English language feature film and TV projects. Aside from traditional Hollywood output, dedicated sub-divisions within AGC Productions is focused on generating material for Latino and Urban audiences as well as music-driven IP. The television output will include scripted series, unscripted and reality projects, factual content and content specifically created for digital platforms. AGC International operates a substantial international film and television licensing and distribution platform, building on Ford and his management team’s lengthy track record at the forefront of licensing content to major studios, independent studios, broadcasters and streaming platforms globally. Finally, AGC Capital provides development, production and post-production financing to both AGC Productions’ output as well as to select third-party produced film and TV productions via a portfolio of equity, senior and mezzanine debt, soft money and bridge-capital financial products.



TIME Studios is a newly launched division of TIME, the global multimedia brand that reaches a combined audience of more than 100 million around the world, to develop premium, longform film and television projects, drawing from the trusted, agenda-setting storytelling of the iconic brand. Built on the foundation of TIME’s award-winning visual journalism, which has earned over 52 major awards and nominations in the last seven years, as well as 1.7B video streams on in 2018, Emmy-Award winning TIME Studios harnesses the access and authority of one of the world’s most trusted and respected brands to bring premium truth based programming to television and film around the world.