Venus and Serena

Sundance Kabuki CinemasSun, Apr 28, 2013 12:30 PM Not Available
Sundance Kabuki CinemasTue, Apr 30, 2013 9:15 PM Not Available
Film Info
Premiere Status:USA
Year of Prod:2012
Running Time:100
Original Language:English
dir:Maiken Baird
Michelle Major
prod:Maiken Baird
Michelle Major
cam:Cliff Charles
Rashidi Harper
Stephanie Johnes
editor:Sam Pollard
mus:Wyclef Jean
source:Magnolia Pictures
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Dominating the field of women’s tennis for over a decade, the indomitable Williams sisters, with the help of their visionary parents, broke new ground for female and African American athletes. Venus and Serena takes an unfiltered look into the remarkable lives of the greatest sister-act professional tennis has ever seen. Through television footage, interviews and personal accounts from legends such as Billie Jean King and John McEnroe, we witness the young sisters playing daily on the public courts in their home town of Compton California under the strong guiding hand of their father, Richard—who incidentally never played the game—using cast off tennis balls he collected from nearby country clubs. Co-directors Maiken Baird and Michelle Major began working on the film in 2011 when both Venus and Serena’s athletic future looked uncertain due to injuries. The filmmakers cleverly juxtapose the sisters’ rise to prominence with footage that clearly documents how challenging that path has been. Perhaps the most striking incident portrayed is the 2001 Championship match in Indian Wells when Serena was booed and her father and sister heckled by predominantly white fans. Yet the strength they share as a family has not just helped them overcome adversity but has also deepened the sisters’ bond as evidenced in hilarious footage of them relaxing at home - singing karaoke, joking about getting married and deciding what to cook for dinner. Now in the waning years of their athletic prowess, the film presents Venus and Serena facing new challenges with their characteristic sense of humor and resilience.
-Audrey Chang
Additional Information

Michelle Major

A proud native of Harlem NY, Michelle Major has worked in television and film for more than 15 years. She began her career working with Barbara Walters, then as a member of the producing team for Peter Jennings' acclaimed documentary, The Century, and ABC’s Good Morning America. Major has a BA in Psychology and Film Studies from Columbia University and a Masters in General Psychology from The New School for Social Research. Venus and Serena is her feature directorial debut.

Maiken Baird

Maiken Baird is an independent documentary filmmaker who specializes in international and political affairs. Baird began her documentary career at ABC News as a researcher for Peter Jennings News Specials. Since then, she has produced a number of highly acclaimed feature documentaries including, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer and Chicago 10. Baird holds a Masters degree in International Relations in Political Science from Stanford University and a BA in Political Science from Columbia University. Venus and Serena is her feature directorial debut.