Premium cable network HBO has acquired the exclusive U.S. television and streaming rights to Diego Maradona, the forthcoming feature-length documentary from Academy Award and BAFTA-winning director Asif Kapadia (Amy, Senna).
Through more than 500 hours of rare footage, the 120-minute film documents the career of celebrated Argentinian football star Diego Maradona during his time at Italian Serie A club SSC Napoli. Upon his arrival in Naples on July 5, 1984, for a world-record fee, Maradona elevated the team to its most successful era in its history, winning the squad’s first ever Serie A Italian Championship in 1986–87, followed by a second league title in 1989–90.
In addition to Maradona’s video archives and personal photos, Kapadia utilizes decades-old news footage and interviews with historians and journalists.
The film will also chart Maradona’s struggles off the pitch, as he became a near-prisoner to the city of Naples, where the mafia held enormous influence, and suffered a 15-month ban for failing a drug test for cocaine before leaving SSC Napoli in disgrace in 1992 for Sevilla FC.
Diego Maradona will have its world premiere as an Official Selection (Out Of Competition) at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival followed by its UK premiere at Sheffield. The film will additionally receive a limited theatrical run in the U.S. prior to its HBO debut.
James Gay-Rees and Paul Martin serve as producers on the film, alongside executive producers Kapadia, George Pank, Will Clarke, Julian Bird and Bil Bungay. Executive producers for HBO are Peter Nelson and Bill Simmons.
Cinetic Media negotiated the deal on the behalf of the filmmakers.
An HBO Sports presentation in association with On The Corner Entertainment and Lorton Entertainment, Diego Maradona is scheduled to debut across HBO on Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The doc will also be made available on HBO on Demand, HBO Now, HBO Go and partners’ streaming platforms.
“Diego Maradona has long been considered the greatest footballer ever, and Asif Kapadia’s filmmaking perfectly captures every high and low of his transcendent career, from his controversial ‘Hand of God’ goal to his awakening of Napoli, and more,” said HBO’s Nelson in a statement. “We look forward to sharing this landmark documentary with both soccer and non-soccer fans alike.”
Photo by Alfredo Capozzi, provided by HBO