Lewis was the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington. Nicknamed “the Boy from Troy,” in recognition of his oratory skills and commitment to social justice, he became one of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s trusted allies.
Directed by Dawn Porter (Gideon’s Army), the film will explore the Georgia representative’s 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, healthcare reform, and immigration.
Porter began principal photography on the film in September 2018, in advance of the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, and continued through the first year of the 116th Congress.
“John Lewis is a national treasure whose leadership paved the way for a generation. In much the same way as his life and work has been shaped by great civil rights leaders, Congressman Lewis continues to serve the country,” Porter said in a statement. “There has never been a more urgent need for the type of moral and compassionate leadership that he embodies. I am so honored to be directing this documentary.”
Now 79 years old, Lewis represents Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, and remains a leading voice on civil rights issues.
“CNN Films is honored to be a part of telling Rep. John Lewis’ historic life through Dawn’s film,” said Amy Entelis, executive vice president for talent and content development for CNN Worldwide, and Courtney Sexton, vice president for CNN Films, both executive producers for the film. “We hope generations to come will learn from Mr. Lewis’ remarkable American story.”
The untitled doc is being produced by Porter and Laura Michalchyshyn for Trilogy Films, with Erika Alexander and Ben Arnon of Color Farm Media. The executive producers are Amy Entelis and Courtney Sexton for CNN Films; and Stuart Ford and Rachel Traub for AGC Studios.
CNN Films will retain North American broadcast rights for the film. Other U.S. rights for the film, including theatrical distribution, remain available. AGC Studios is co-financing and controls international rights that will be sold via its worldwide sales subsidiary, AGC International.
Other recent titles from CNN Films include RBG, Three Identical Strangers and Apollo 11.