The winner of the Best Director prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival and the first African-American woman to take home the prize, Ava DuVernay will be helming Venus VS, an in-depth documentary for ESPN Films about tennis star Venus Williams and her fight for fair pay at the Wimbledon Championships.
The documentary will be part of ESPN's recently announced Nine For IX, a series of films celebrating the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the 1972 federal legislation that mandated equal opportunities for female athletes. Venus VS will premiere on ESPN in 2013.
Despite years of protesting by tennis pioneer Billie Jean King, Wimbledon—and most other tennis competitions—had refused to offer equal prize money for both men and women. In 2005, Williams met with officials from both Wimbledon and the French Open to plead her case, but her demands were rejected because men play five sets while women only play three.
After an essay she wrote was published in London's The Times newspaper on the eve of the 2006 Wimbledon event, a groundswell of support eventually resulted in officials instituting equal pay for the 2007 championships. For the first time ever, the women's champion earned as much as her male counterpart, and that woman turned out to be Venus herself. The controversy was reignited earlier this year when French player Gilles Simon voiced his opposition to equal prize money, claiming that men's tennis is "more attractive" than women's.
I don't know about you, but if I were going to watch a tennis match, I'd choose the women any day of the week. Do you agree with the ruling, or should it be equal pay for equal play?