October 11th, 2021


The Rex Miller and Sam Pollard-Directed documentary exploring the legacy of Grand Slam tennis legend and humanitarian Arthur Ashe opens December 3

Magnolia Pictures has boarded CITIZEN ASHE, the Rex Miller- and Sam Pollard-directed documentary feature produced by Dogwoof for CNN Films and HBO Max.  The film will open in theaters in New York on Dec. 3 and in Los Angeles, on Dec. 10, accompanied by an Academy campaign.  Please visit Quad Cinema for New York screen times: https://quadcinema.com/film/citizen-ashe/.

The film explores the legacy of three-time Grand Slam, barrier-breaking tennis legend and humanitarian, Arthur Ashe, and has generated early awards buzz.  CITIZEN ASHE premiered to critical acclaim at Telluride Film Festival last month, where critics called it a ‘poignant tribute’ and a ‘fascinating, candid portrait of the trailblazing tennis pro.’


“Sam Pollard and Rex Miller have delivered an exquisite, moving look at the life of a true iconoclast, one who forged his own path and defied stereotypes at every turn,” said Magnolia Pictures president Eamonn Bowles.


“We’re delighted to work with our frequent collaborators at Magnolia Pictures as they share our passion in bringing essential, timely stories, like CITIZEN ASHE by co-directors Emmy® Award-winner Rex Miller and Academy Award-nominee Sam Pollard, to the screen.  Arthur Ashe’s legacy, not only as a tennis great, but also as a trailblazer in the fight for racial justice and equality, will resonate strongly with audiences today,” said Courtney Sexton, senior vice president for CNN Films who, along with Amy Entelis, executive vice president for talent and content development for CNN Worldwide, is an executive producer for CITIZEN ASHE.


CITIZEN ASHE features interviews with Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Johnnie Ashe; tennis legends Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Donald Dell, Charlie Pasarell, and Lenny Simpson; and activist Prof. Harry Edwards.  The film reveals the very private person behind the historic Grand Slam titles and Ashe’s anti-racism and human rights activism.  CITIZEN ASHE will premiere internationally at BFI London Film Festival on Oct. 10.


The theatrical distribution deal for CITIZEN ASHE was negotiated by Dori Begley and John Von Thaden, on behalf of Magnolia Pictures.  Stacey Wolf, senior vice president of business affairs for CNN Worldwide, negotiated on behalf of CNN Films.


In addition to CITIZEN ASHE, Magnolia Pictures, and CNN Films also previously collaborated for the Emmy® Award-nominated JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE, about the history-making civil rights activist and U.S. legislator, directed by Dawn Porter, Academy Award-nominated, BAFTA-nominated, Emmy® Award-winning RBG, about the legendary U.S. Supreme Court Justice, directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen; the Emmy® Award-nominated SCANDALOUS: The Untold Story of the National Enquirer, directed by Mark Landsman; and, the BAFTA-nominated Blackfish, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite.  All four films premiered theatrically with Magnolia Pictures prior to their broadcast premieres on CNN.


As previously announced, the broadcast premiere of CITIZEN ASHE will be presented by CNN Films; the film will stream via HBO Max.


CITIZEN ASHE is produced by Beth Hubbard, Rex Miller, Dogwoof CEO Anna Godas, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Steven Cantor, and Jamie SchutzDavid Acker, William Ackman, David Barden, Geralyn Dreyfous, Nina and David Fialkow, Alex Gibney, Patty Quillin, Rick Rosenthal, Regina K. Scully, Tony Tabatznik, David Ulich, Steven Ungerleider, and Mike Jackson on behalf of Get Lifted Film Co. and his partners, John Legend and Ty Stiklorius, are executive producers for the film.

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About Magnolia Pictures

A leading independent film studio for 20 years, Magnolia Pictures is the theatrical and home entertainment distribution arm of the Wagner/Cuban Companies, boasting a library of over 500 titles. Recent releases include double Oscar nominee COLLECTIVE, Alexander Nanau’s jaw-dropping expose of corruption at the highest levels of government; THE FIGHT, following a team of scrappy lawyers inside the ACLU; JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE, from director Dawn Porter; Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner and Oscar-nominated SHOPLIFTERS; Oscar-nominated documentary RBG; Ruben Östlund’s 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 Romanian filmmaker Radu Jude’s Berlin Golden Bear-winner BAD LUCK BANGING OR LOONY PORN; and Cannes Critics Week selection ANAIS IN LOVE.

About CNN Films

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 www.CNN.com/CNNFilms, follow @CNNFilms via Twitter, and join Keep Watching, an exclusive, members-only community for CNN Films & CNN Original Series https://cnn.it/3qTScB4.  Acclaimed CNN Films include the Academy Award®-nominated, BAFTA-nominated, and Emmy® Award-winning RBG, directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen; the Emmy® Award-winning APOLLO 11, directed by Todd Douglas Miller; JIMMY CARTER: Rock & Roll President, directed by Mary Wharton; the Emmy® Award-nominated, BAFTA-nominated Three Identical Strangers, directed by Tim Wardle; DREAMLAND: The Burning of Black Wall Street, directed by Salima Koroma; LADY BOSS: The Jackie Collins Story, directed by Laura Fairrie; and, JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE, directed by Dawn Porter.

About HBO Max

HBO Max® is WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer platform, offering best in class quality entertainment. HBO Max features the greatest array of storytelling for all audiences from the iconic brands of HBO, Warner Bros., DC, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies and much more. The streaming platform launched in the United States in May 2020 and introduced an advertising-supported subscription tier in June 2021. HBO Max recently began its global roll out launching in 39 markets across Latin America and the Caribbean, and will be followed by the replacement of HBO-branded streaming services in Europe later this year.


About Dogwoof Ltd.
Dogwoof is a London-based, documentary film company integrating production, sales and UK theatrical distribution. Dogwoof has so far released 26 Oscar®-nominated documentaries, with four wins and an additional three BAFTA winners; notable titles include Oscar®-winning and BAFTA-winning Free Solo (the UK’s highest grossing documentary of 2018), BAFTA-nominated Three Identical Strangers, Oscar®-nominated RBG, BAFTA-winning The Act of Killing and Blackfish. Recent releases have included double-Oscar®-nominated Honeyland, Oscar®-nominated The Cave, and BAFTA-nominated Apollo 11 which was the UK’s highest grossing doc of 2019. Dogwoof’s TDog production investment fund has five features and two series currently in production; the fund is focused on feature docs, docu-series, and remake rights, gearing up the company towards vertical integration.