The culmination of a five-year journey to the screen, Unraveling Athena, a feature documentary built around insightful interviews with 20 WTA World No.1 singles and doubles champions, is set to reach tennis fans in the weeks ahead.
The film, directed by Francis Amat for Zatopeka Films, won numerous awards on the festival circuit last year. On July 13 it becomes available for viewing on Amazon Prime Video in the United Kingdom and European markets; fans in North America wait just a little longer, with AppleTV, Amazon, GooglePlay and other digital platforms hosting from August 11.
“Unraveling Athena delivers a long overdue and immensely entertaining celebration of the women who earned their rightful place in the pantheon of tennis champions,” said Jordan Fields, VP Acquisitions for LA-based Shout! Studios, the North American distributor. “What it means to strive, to endure, to move past disappointment and fight another day – these are the lessons of sport but also of life, so this uplifting film is widely relatable.”
The 103-minute documentary’s marquee line-up includes Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Tracy Austin, Pam Shriver, Monica Seles, Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, Martina Hingis, Venus Williams, Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, Dinara Safina, Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka, Angelique Kerber, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sania Mirza.
Principal shooting wrapped in 2018, after all WTA Singles No.1s had been invited to participate and schedules aligned in locations as far flung as London, Paris, Madrid, Los Angeles, Miami and Melbourne.
While the film is named for the mythological Athena, Greek goddess of tactics and skill, wisdom and strategy, director Amat says he was motivated by the real-life achievements of the world’s best women tennis players.
“Tennis champions are real-life heroines who inspire millions of people around the world, men and women, during their playing days and after they retire,” said Amat. “It was a privilege to sit with these remarkable individuals while they shared their stories – as well as being impressed by their achievements, I was humbled by their openness, emotion and generosity of spirit.”
Among accolades collected on the film festival circuit in 2019, Unraveling Athena won Best Edit at the European Cinematography Awards and the Manchester Film Festival; Best Score and Best First Time Filmmaker at the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards; and Best Documentary Feature at the International Independent Film Awards in Los Angeles. Further international release dates are anticipated later in the year.