NEW YORK, NY (December 12, 2019) – Participant and Magnolia Pictures announced today that they have acquired North American rights to JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Dawn Porter (TRAPPED, GIDEON’S ARMY). The film chronicles the life and career of the legendary civil rights activist and Democratic Representative from Georgia. Porter and Laura Michalchyshyn produced the film, which was executive produced and financed by CNN Films, AGC Studios and TIME Studios. CNN Films will retain North American broadcast rights, while AGC International, the international sales and distribution arm of AGC Studios, will oversee international distribution rights. Magnolia is planning a Spring 2020 theatrical release.
Using interviews and rare archival footage, JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE chronicles Lewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health-care reform and immigration. Using present-day interviews with Lewis, now 79 years old, Porter explores his childhood experiences, his inspiring family and his fateful meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957. In addition to her interviews with Lewis and his family, Porter’s primarily cinéma verité film also includes interviews with political leaders, Congressional colleagues, and other people who figure prominently in his life.
Most recently, CNN Films, Magnolia and Participant partnered on Academy Award®-nominated RBG, which went on to gross more than $14 million at the global box office and was sold to over 30 territories worldwide.
“John Lewis is a shining example of what is great about this country and Dawn Porter has done a wonderful job chronicling his journey,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. “We’re proud to be bringing this film to the public.”
“John Lewis’ unwavering commitment to public service is legendary,” said Porter. “He is the voice of reason in a turbulent time, and we need his leadership today as much as we ever have. It is thrilling to have so many skilled and prestigious partners to launch this film into the world. I am incredibly grateful to them all.”
“After partnering on RBG, it’s exciting to be reunited with the dream team of Magnolia and CNN Films on Dawn’s incredibly powerful and inspiring film,” said Diane Weyermann, Chief Content Officer for Participant. “I can’t think of a better moment to share the story of John Lewis and all the work he has done in his fight for equality to ensure that the voices of the people are heard.”
“CNN Films is thrilled to once again partner with Magnolia and Participant for the distribution of Dawn Porter’s wonderful film. Together with AGC and TIME Studios, this documentary is in very capable hands to share the incredible, enduring, essential legacy of John Lewis,” said Amy Entelis, executive vice president for talent and content development for CNN Worldwide.
"TIME Studios is excited to be a part of this project with Dawn Porter,” said Ian Orefice, President of TIME Studios. “This style of storytelling is synonymous with the TIME brand and we look forward to amplifying the story of John Lewis' legacy as a congressman and activist to new audiences.”
"John Lewis is such an inspirational figure and it's gratifying for us all to see such a capable and proven team of distribution partners come onboard the project," said AGC Studios’ Stuart Ford.
“I love this film,” said Participant CEO David Linde. “It’s incredibly exciting to get the team back together again on such an inspirational and timely film, and I am delighted to introduce it to audiences.”
In conjunction with the film’s release, Participant is looking to create an impact campaign that celebrates Representative Lewis’ iconic battle for voting rights and help in his fight to ensure that every eligible voter has access to the polls in 2020.
Previously, Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films paired for the successful distribution of seven other films: LOVE, GILDA, about the trailblazing comedienne; BLACKFISH, about orcas in captivity; STEVE JOBS: The Man in the Machine, a biography of the tech inventor; ÉVOCATEUR: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie, about the provocative talk show host; LIFE ITSELF, about the life of film critic Roger Ebert; WHITEY: United States of America v. James J. Bulger, about the notorious Boston crime boss; and SUNSHINE SUPERMAN, about the father of BASE jumping. CNN Films and Participant Media collaborated for the distribution of Ivory Tower, about the skyrocketing cost of an American college education. AGC Studios and CNN Films have also recently partnered for the production and distribution of LADY BOSS: The Jackie Collins Story. CNN Films, AGC Studios, and Magnolia Pictures collaborated on the recent release of SCANDALOUS: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER.
Directed by Dawn Porter, JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE is produced by Porter and Laura Michalchyshyn for Trilogy Films, with Erika Alexander and Ben Arnon of Color Farm Media. Executive producers are Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann for Participant; Amy Entelis and Courtney Sexton for CNN Films; Stuart Ford for AGC Studios; Rachel Traub; and Ian Orefice and Mike Beck for TIME Studios;
The deal was negotiated by Magnolia EVP Dori Begley and Magnolia SVP of Acquisitions John Von Thaden with Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz on behalf of the filmmakers, and by Stacey Wolf, SVP of business affairs and Kelly MacLanahan, assistant general counsel, for CNN Worldwide on behalf of CNN Films. For Participant, the deal was negotiated by SVP of Business & Legal Affairs, Danice Woodley.