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Bill Siegel has more than 20 years of experience in documentary filmmaking and education. He co-directed the Academy Award - nominated documentary The Weather Underground; was a researcher on the films Muhammad Ali: The Whole Story and Hoop Dreams; and a writer on One Love, a documentary on the cultural history of basketball by Leon Gast (When We Were Kings). Siegel is Vice President of School Programs for the Great Books Foundation, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to literacy and lifelong learning.
“Why another film on Muhammad Ali? Because no Ali film has deeply explored his exile years, his spiritual transformation and his impact on the world beyond the ring. This is an intimate film weaving artful and unseen archival footage, with contemporary interviews from firsthand sources, resulting in an intense, focused narrative with hard-hitting relevance.
The Trials of Muhammad Ali uses percussive sounds of the speed bag and heavy bag to drive and punctuate the story. It has tensions involving faith, race, duty, and identity. And when you personalize those tensions through the humanity of Muhammad Ali, it gives them depth and definition in ways that resonate now. Ultimately, it is a story that has at least as much to say about our society and how Ali's principles continue to challenge us as it does about his own transformation. In many ways, he stayed true to his beliefs and identity while the country changed around him.”
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