The Walt Disney Company on Monday announced that it had struck an overall first-look deal with Colin Kaepernick's production studio Ra Vision Media. The partnership focuses on telling scripted and unscripted stories that "explore race, social injustice and the quest for equity, and will provide a new platform to showcase the work of Black and Brown directors and producers." The first-look covers the entirety of Walt Disney Platforms, including Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Hulu, Pixar, and The Undefeated. Kaepernick will work closely with The Undefeated as it expanded its portfolio to develop stories from the perspective of Black and Brown communities. This news follows last week's announcement that Ava DuVernay is developing a scripted Netflix series based on Kaepernick's adolescent years.
The first project in development as part of the deal is a docuseries about Kaepernick. The series will use new interviews and an archive of never-before-seen footage to document the last five years of Kapernick's life, with Kaepernick telling the story from his perspective. Libby Geist, Kevin Merida, and Connor Schell will executive produce the series for ESPN. Kaepernick is working on the project with Jemele Hill, formerly of ESPN and The Undefeated, as a producer
In a press release, Bob Iger, Disney's executive chairman, said, "During this unprecedented time, The Walt Disney Company remains committed to creating diverse and inclusive content that resonates and matters. Colin's experience gives him a unique perspective on the intersection of sports, culture and race, which will undoubtedly create compelling stories that will educate, enlighten and entertain, and we look forward to working with him on this important collaboration."
Kaepernick said, "I am excited to announce this historic partnership with Disney across all of its platforms to elevate Black and Brown directors, creators, storytellers, and producers, and to inspire the youth with compelling and authentic perspectives. I look forward to sharing the docuseries on my life story, in addition to many other culturally impactful projects we are developing."
ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro said, "Developing exceptional storytelling told through a wide array of voices is at the core of who we are at ESPN. Colin has had a singular path as both an athlete and an activist, and, as the nation continues to confront racism and social injustice, it feels particularly relevant to hear Colin's voice on his evolution and motivations."
Kevin Merida, senior vice president/editor-in-chief of The Undefeated, said, "The Undefeated exists at the juncture of race, sports and culture, which is exactly where Colin has often found himself as he has navigated his career and activism. We're looking forward to working with Colin to elevate important stories of lives too often unseen and to deliver them to a vast audience across The Walt Disney Company. We want to continue to call attention to the issues of racial injustice that America is wrestling with, and do that in new, compelling ways."
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