Venus and Serena Williams are the epitome of black cool. The glamorous tennis stars have mastered the sport while insulating the bulk of their private lives from public scrutiny. We’ve been privy to what the sisters are willing to share, which is essentially televised matches, tweets and red-carpet appearances.
Now the sisters are baring their complex lives in Venus and Serena, a 100-minute documentary directed by Maiken Baird and Michelle Major. The film chronicles the day-to-day lives of the Olympic Gold medalists during the 2011 and 2012 tennis seasons when both were contending with difficulties in their personal and professional lives.
Tennis Now describes the documentary as an“unfiltered look into the remarkable lives of the greatest sister-act professional tennis has ever seen. In a sport where they were not welcomed, the indomitable Williams sisters faced the opposition with grace and courage not only breaking new ground for female and African-American athletes everywhere, but dominating the women’s game for over a decade. The film tells the inspiring story of how these two women, against all odds, but with the help of visionary parents, made it to the top.”
Venus and Serena offers exclusive access into the legendary rivalry that’s existed between the sisters from the beginning of their careers. Baird and Major promise a film that “doesn’t shy away from inquiring into delicate and sometimes controversial areas of the sisters’ personal and professional lives.” Some of the moments like their father’s affair and subsequent marriage and their awkward relationships with other professional tennis players are captured as well. The directors interview everyone from Chris Rock to Bill Clinton to gauge what drives the Williams sisters in sports and life.
Venus and Serena are two of the most decorated tennis players in the history of the sport, which draws questions as to how the women balance that power with their humanity. Hopefully the documentary captures rapper Common and Serena’s on-again off-again relationship or some other personal aspect that shows them as they are – human.
The documentary has already screened at several prestigious festivals, including the Toronto International Film Festival and the Miami International Film Festival. Magnolia Pictures will release Venus and Serena on iTunes/On Demand April 4 and in theaters May 10.