June 15th, 2022

CITIZEN ASHE, Exploring the Legacy of Legendary Tennis Ace and Humanitarian Arthur Ashe, Lands on CNN on Eve of Wimbledon

The Rex Miller and Sam Pollard-Directed Documentary on the Life of the Grand Slam Tennis Legend Makes Its Television Premiere on Sunday, June 26

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The film CITIZEN ASHE, about the legacy of triple Grand Slam, barrier-breaking tennis legend and global humanitarian, Arthur Ashe, will make its television premiere on CNN.  The documentary feature will debut on the eve of the 135th Wimbledon, at 9:00pm Eastern on Sunday, June 26, for broadcast exclusively in the U.S. and Canada, with limited commercial interruption.  Directed by Emmy® Award-winner Rex Miller and Academy Award-nominee Sam Pollard, CITIZEN ASHE is produced by Dogwoof, Sidewinder Films, and Rexpix Media for CNN Films and HBO Max.


“I saw Arthur Ashe play in the 1968 US Open when I was six years old and always followed his career intently, as much off the court as on the court.  He was a champion on the court, but was more concerned with making the world a better place.  For me, the great takeaway from Arthur Ashe’s life is that he urged everyone to not sit by and do nothing when you see an injustice.  Arthur always said: ‘start where you are, use what you have, to do what you can,’” said director Rex Miller about his inspiration for the film.


“Arthur Ashe, for me as a young African American man in the 1960s, was a trailblazer who I looked up to…having the opportunity to work on the film gave me insight into Arthur I wasn’t aware of, and made who he was and what he did on and off the tennis court even more important and urgent,” said Sam Pollard, director of CITIZEN ASHE.


CITIZEN ASHE is told largely in Arthur Ashe’s own narrative voice, explaining his self-exploration and evolution on race relations, his family relationships, and pivotal decisions that shaped his life.  The film also uses rare biographical archival film, audio, and photography, as well as newsreel coverage of his amateur and professional careers.  The film features exclusive, intimate 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, who discuss Ashe’s life and his influence on athletes who came after him.


“It’s more than time that a major telling of Ashe’s important story be presented for the broad audience of television.  Sam and Rex have delivered a film that explains the significant role of Arthur Ashe as a leader in leveraging his achievements to open doors for others and use his voice to push for racial justice and equality,” said Amy Entelis, executive vice president for talent and content development for CNN Worldwide.  “As the first Black man to win a singles championship at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and the Australian Open, and the first African American Davis Cup coach, Arthur Ashe was a trailblazer.  He was a global humanitarian and used his prominence to advocate against racism in America, apartheid in South Africa, and for compassion for sufferers of HIV/AIDS around the world,” said Courtney Sexton, senior vice president for CNN Films.  Entelis and Sexton are also executive producers for CITIZEN ASHE.


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.


During the June 26 premiere, CITIZEN ASHE, will stream live for subscribers via CNN.com and CNN mobile apps under “TV Channels.”  The film will be available on demand via CNN.com, CNN apps, and cable operator platforms beginning Monday, June 27.  While watching the film, viewers can interact with other viewers across social media platforms by using the hashtag #CitizenAshe.  CITIZEN ASHE will encore Sunday, Sept. 3 at 9:00pm Eastern on CNN.


The world premiere of CITIZEN ASHE took place at the 2021 Telluride Film Festival, before its exhibition in theaters by Magnolia Pictures. 


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