‘John Lewis: Good Trouble’ Documentary Acquired by Participant and Magnolia

Film about civil rights activist and congressman from Georgia will open in theaters in Spring 2020

Last Updated: December 12, 2019 @ 8:56 AM

Participant and Magnolia Pictures have acquired the North American rights to “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” a documentary about the life and career of Rep. John Lewis, the distributors announced Thursday.

Dawn Porter (“Trapped,” “Gideon’s Army”) is directing the documentary that was executive produced and financed by CNN Films, AGC Studios and TIME Studios. Magnolia is planning a theatrical release for spring 2020, while CNN Films will retain North American broadcast rights.

Using interviews and rare archival footage, “John Lewis: Good Trouble” chronicles Lewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health-care reform and immigration. Using present-day interviews with Lewis, 79, Porter explores his childhood experiences, his inspiring family and his fateful meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957. In addition to her interviews with Lewis and his family, Porter’s primarily cinéma verité film also includes interviews with political leaders, Congressional colleagues and other people who figure prominently in Lewis’s life.

Porter and Laura Michalchyshyn are producing for Trilogy Films alongside Erika Alexander and Ben Arnon of Color Farm Media. AGC International, the international sales and distribution arm of AGC Studios, will oversee international distribution rights. The executive producers are Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann for Participant, Amy Entelis and Courtney Sexton for CNN Films, Stuart Ford for AGC Studios, Rachel Traub, and Ian Orefice and Mike Beck for TIME Studios.

CNN Films, Magnolia and Participant also most recently partnered on the Oscar-nominated “RBG,” which was a box office hit for a documentary with a gross of $14 million at the global box office.

The deal was negotiated by Magnolia EVP Dori Begley and Magnolia SVP of acquisitions John Von Thaden with Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz on behalf of the filmmakers, and by Stacey Wolf, SVP of business affairs and Kelly MacLanahan, assistant general counsel, for CNN Worldwide on behalf of CNN Films. For Participant, the deal was negotiated by SVP of Business & Legal Affairs, Danice Woodley.

Variety was first to report news of the project.

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