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Citizen Ashe by Samuel D. Pollard and Rex Miller
Citizen Ashe by Samuel D. Pollard and Rex Miller

Directed by Rex Miller and Sam Pollard, the documentary 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 9:00 pm Eastern on Sunday, June 26, for broadcast exclusively in the U.S. and Canada, with limited commercial interruption.

“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.

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

Watch the trailer for Citizen Ashe.

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