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UK / USA, 2012 (MIFF 2013, This Sporting Life)

Director: Maiken Baird,Michelle Major


"An enthralling and often insightful documentary about two supreme sibling athletes … Venus And Serena is a must for tennis fans." – Screen Daily

Venus and Serena Williams are not only the most successful sisters in tennis, they're also amongst the most successful athletes ever. In Maiken Baird and Michelle Major's revealing documentary, the highs (gold at the London Olympics) and lows (injury and illness) on and off the court are captured over an eventful year.

Triumphantly scored by Wyclef Jean, the film includes an eclectic array of talking heads – Bill Clinton, Chris Rock, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, outburst-prone former tennis champion John McEnroe – who reflect on the siblings' impact on the game and popular culture. It also, famously, attracted the ire of the sisters for its depiction of their father, who is shown as the driven force behind their success but also as a controlling, Svengali-ish figure who used his daughters to make money. Ultimately, though, the film paints an affectionate portrait of two intelligent, confident and highly talented young women.

"An engaging, warts-and-all look at the Williams sisters … the footage of them together and apart, in the spotlight and behind closed doors, gives a far better sense of the sisters as sisters – and as human beings living their lives – than do reams of sports reportage and Internet celebrity gossip." – Variety

Michelle Major is a guest of the festival. Join her, along with Australian surfing legend Wayne Lynch, American snowboarding champ Kevin Pearce and more to talk about sports storytelling on film in our Talking Pictures event.

D/P Maiken Baird, Michelle Major Dist Vendetta Films TD DCP/2012

See also...


Germany, 2012
"A fascinating look into a world many of us don't understand." – Toronto Film Scene ... Of the 20,000 pupils at the illustrious Shaolin Tagu Kung Fu School (located next to the famous Shaolin T… More »


USA, 2013
"By turns pulse-quickening and contemplative, The Crash Reel is a thoroughly winning portrait of former pro snowboarder Kevin Pearce." – Variety ... Two-time Oscar-nominated director Lucy Walke… More »


Ireland,UK, 2013
"This remarkable film puts us in their shoes – literally between the world's most ferocious rock and the icy hard place of imminent death." – Hollywood Reporter ... In the tradition of Ke… More »


USA, 2013
When Cassius Clay embraced Islam and became Muhammad Ali, the "People's Champion" courted controversy. When he subsequently refused the draft, he went from "The Greatest" to persona non grata. ... Mu… More »


Australia, 2013
"It seemed as if Wayne Lynch had just fallen out of the sky, after a long visit to the future." – Matt Warshaw, author of The History of Surfing ... When Wayne Lynch first appeared on the scene… More »

© Melbourne International Film Festival 2013.

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