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Althea

Project Director: Rex Miller

Producers: Elisabeth Haviland James and Nancy Buirski

Director Rex Miller began searching for Althea Gibson's story because of a photograph that hung on the wall of his childhood bedroom. Taken in 1960, it shows two brown-skinned women, dressed in their tennis whites, holding tennis rackets and standing on the front lawn of the Merion Cricket Club, a prestigious and highly restricted tennis club outside of Philadelphia. One woman was his mother, Millicent Miller. The other was Althea Gibson.

Over the years I came to realize that most people--even in tennis--have little idea of who she was and all she accomplished. Not only did she succeed in tennis, but in golf and music as well. Fifty years after she broke the color barrier, I think it is time for a fitting recognition of the legacy of this great champion and trailblazer.

The film is a lyrical, poetic, fluid piece. It includes archival material, first person interviews, re-enactments, primary source materials (newspapers, letters), animation, and a fantastic score. It is not your typical historical documentary - we are taking an innovative approach to archives, music and storytelling.

Grayscale