New York-based distributor Kino Lorber has acquired the North American rights to Kartemquin Films’ The Trials of Muhammad Ali (pictured).
Directed by Bill Siegel (The Weather Underground), the doc looks at Ali’s life outside the ring, including his relationship to the Nation of Islam, his refusal to serve in the Vietnam war, and his fight for racial justice.
The story is told via archival footage of Ali’s peers and detractors, including Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, Jackie Robinson, Joe Louis, and new interviews with Ali’s brother Rahman, wife Khalilah Camacho-Ali, sports journalist Robert Lipsyte and Louis Farrakhan.
The Trials of Muhammad Ali premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this year, and opens in New York at the IFC Center on August 23, with a national roll-out set for the summer and the fall.
The deal was brokered by Kino Lorber’s Richard Lorber and Elizabeth Sheldon, and Cinetic Media on behalf of the filmmakers.
“This is an astonishing work that pulls no punches when it comes to what Ali was really fighting for,” said Lorber. “Bill Siegel and the Kartemquin team have recast the legend of Ali with brilliant insight into the political reality that only makes his iconic stature more compelling and enduring.”
“We had a number of distribution options but have great respect for Kino Lorber’s history and standing within indie film,” added Siegel. “They are a great choice for this film, and all of us at Kartemquin are looking forward to working with them to get the film out there.”