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Still The Greatest: ALI

 

 

Written by: Graeme Woods
04.10.14

 

IAmAli_med

Muhammad Ali – Sure is still the Greatest!

At the age of 72 and looking frail from the onset of Parkinson’s disease Muhammad Ali proved he could still command an audience when he attended the recent Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards service. Ali was guest of honour at the Awards held in Louisville Kentucky; also in attendance were actress Susan Sarandon and hip-hop artist Common. The award ceremony, now in its second year,S.Sarandon celebrates the greatness of people from around the world who are making differences in their communities and beyond.

Sarandon was honoured with a Global Citizenship Award for her work with UNICEF, while six young people from across the globe where also recognised for their efforts. At the event Ali was reunited with NFL great Jim Brown almost 50 years after the pair became involved in heated debates over Ali’s decision not to fight in the Vietnam War.Elderly-Muhammad_Ali

 

Ali’s conflict with the Supreme Court over his refusal to accept the draft formed the basis of last year’s HBO movie MUHAMMAD ALI’S GREATEST FIGHT.

Ali was drafted at the height of his boxing career, his claim to conscientious objector status led to a controversial legal battle that rattled the US judicial system up to the highest court in the land. The film uses archival footage of Ali and starred Christopher Plummer, Frank Langella, Benjamin Walker and Ed Begley Jr. Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, directed by BAFTA winning, Stephen Frears is currently available to buy on DVD.

The cinematic fascination with this sporting legend doesn’t stop there however; released this year from Focus Features comes I AM ALI. An intimate look at the man behind the legend, the film features interviews with family members and Ali’s daughters for the first time ever, giving an intriguing insight into his life outside the boxing ring.AliFrazier

Unfolding the story of Cassius Clay from birth to his boxing beginnings in Louisville, Kentucky, to gold at the 1960 Rome Olympics; from beating Henry Cooper at Wembley to beating Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship of the world; from changing his religion and his name to entering exile following his refusal to fight in Vietnam. It is the story of his great 1970s fights, the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ against George Foreman in Zaire and the ‘Thriller in Manila’ against Joe Frazier. And his final bout, at 39, a defeat by Trevor Berbick in the Bahamas.

Ali a father of nine–two sons and seven daughters–tried to cherish every moment spent with his children.

Muhammad-Ali“My father gave me some audio tapes that he made when we were young in the seventies,” said his daughter Hana. “He [recorded] us talking, going to school, playing, talking on the phone with my sister, and various things.” All of these personal audio journals will be paired with interviews from people within Ali’s close circle, to give the documentary a unique view from the inside.

Director Claire Lewis has assembled her film using these audio journals, along with home movies and interviews with the people who know Ali best – his brother, one of his ex-wives, his business manager, his trainer, his son and daughters. Those who have watched and loved him both inside and outside the ring, more importantly the film also uses the voice of Ali himself from audio interviews.

The film; which runs for 1 hour, 51 mins, will be released in cinema’s in the US on October 10th with a UK Release to follow on 28th November 2014

For more information visit the official site: www.focusfeatures.com/i_am_ali

 

trials-of-muhamed-ali
Away from Focus Features’ big screen release of I AM ALI – Indie film maker Kartemquin Films have produced THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI which turns the spotlight away from the boxing ring and instead focuses on, perhaps, Ali’s toughest bout; his decision to join a controversial religious group, his battle to overturn a five year prison sentence for refusing US military service and his struggle with Parkinson’s. The film looks at his relationship with the Louisville Sponsoring Group, the Nation of Islam, and his Muslim faith.

Muhammad-Ali-and-Malcolm-X

Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X

The majority of interviewees in Trials have never been featured before and yet they are central to his life story and the global impact he has made.

The film delves deeply into a time when a sporting legend chose faith and conscience over fame and fortune. The outcry and fury he faced from an American public enraged by his opposition to Vietnam and their unwillingness to accept his conversion to Islam.

Interviews shot exclusively for the film include his brother, Rahman, his bride Khalilah Camacho-Ali, New York Times writer, Robert Lipsyte and Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan. The film shows the hidden history of Muhammad Ali and provides audiences with a chance to discover his spiritual journey and his humanitarian work around the world.

Laila Ali & Father

Laila Ali & Father

The film is directed by Bill Siegel (The Weather Underground) and executive produced by Justine Nagan and Gordon Quinn for Kartemquin Films, Kat White (KatLei Productions), and Leon Gast (When We Were Kings).

The film was released in the US in 2013 and is available on DVD/VOD it received a UK Première in September 2014 at the British Urban Film Festival (BUFF) in London.