Docs

Exclusive: CNN sets September premiere for “RBG”

American cable network CNN will present the television broadcast premiere of Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s critically-acclaimed feature-length documentary RBG across its channel in early September. The 98-minute film, which held ...
August 15, 2018

American cable network CNN will present the television broadcast premiere of Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s critically-acclaimed feature-length documentary RBG across its channel in early September.

The 98-minute film, which held its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, explores the life and career of U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and multi-generational pop culture icon, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Through vérité scenes and archival footage, RBG sets out to chart Ginsburg’s legacy by weaving together speeches, writings and Supreme Court arguments to show her impact on American life.

“It’s a lesser-known part of Ginsburg’s career legacy that, as a litigator, she helped shape a lot of the existing legal framework for workplace protections against harassment and pay disparity,” Amy Entelis, EVP of talent and content development for CNN Worldwide, told realscreen. “At this 25th anniversary milestone for her career, we felt this was an ideal time to explore in a documentary film how Ginsburg has had a tremendous impact upon our history and culture.”

Featured in the doc are never-before-seen personal home movies and interviews with Ginsburg’s closest friends and family members, associates and colleagues, as well as intimate one-on-one conversations with Ginsburg herself. Interview subjects include Gloria Steinem, NPR’s Nina Totenberg, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Lilly Ledbetter, among others.

“We began working with Betsy and Julie in 2015, without guarantees that Justice Ginsburg would grant an interview, or the personal access that she eventually did [grant] for this documentary,” added Entelis. “It’s grown more important to us to engage filmmakers during earlier and earlier stages of production over the years since we established CNN Films. This gives us an opportunity to add value to the entire life cycle of the film.

Its theatrical run in the U.S. has seen it take in US$13,730,202 thus far, according to Box Office Mojo, making it one of this year’s feature doc hits.

In the weeks leading up to the film’s broadcast premiere on CNN in the U.S., CNN Digital will host comprehensive coverage across its platforms on the life and legacy of Ginsburg, from her roots in Brooklyn to her nomination to the highest court. The extensive content collection will include photography, original video and a bonus scene from the film.

RBG is co-produced by Storyville Films and CNN Films. It is executive produced by CNN’s Entelis and Courtney Sexton. Magnolia Pictures and Participant Media handle worldwide theatrical, home video, and other distribution rights.

RBG premieres Sept. 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CNN, and will be available for live stream via CNNgo platforms and on the CNN mobile apps for iOS and Android.

The film will then be made available on demand beginning Sept. 4.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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