Celebrating Greatness with Muhammad Ali

On October 4th in Louisville, the Muhammad Ali Center will present a screening of The Trials of Muhammad Ali as part of its "Three Days of Greatness" celebrations amid the first ever Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards. Muhammad Ali himself will be attending the event, which will honor people who are taking a stand for social justice worldwide.

The Trials of Muhammad Ali continues to draw praise from critics and fans in its first run of screenings at New York's IFC Center. The film is in its second week there, and will continue for a third. It will also open in Hudson, NY this Friday. Upcoming cities where the film will play minimum 1-week runs in September include Dallas, Atlanta, Greensboro, Columbus, Denver, Santa Fe, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore and Los Angeles. Get full date details here.

The latest stellar review comes from Owen Gleiberman at Entertainment Weekly, who writes: "Bill Siegel’s audacious documentary puts new heat and focus on what an extraordinary figure Muhammad Ali was outside the boxing ring. No film has probed this deeply into the fallout from his name change or his complex bond with Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam. And the saga of Ali’s refusal to be drafted during Vietnam becomes a profile in courage — a tale of shocking vilification and faith lost and found. A- ."

For the new documentary site Nonfics.com, Christopher Campbell calls the film one of the best docs of the year: "a distinct and important and engaging and well crafted and focused work."

Bill Siegel also gave a revealing interview in the Chicago Tribune on his 20-year fight to get this film made, despite a perception of "Ali fatigue" on the part of some funders, and his luck in finding unseen archival footage of Ali. In another interview with LifeandTimes.com, Bill notes that the film is "a story about Muhammad Ali, but really it’s a story about us and how our perspective on him has changed because of how we’ve changed."

If you don't get to see The Trials of Muhammad Ali in theaters - and you really should! - you can take solace in knowing that the film will eventually air on PBS Independent Lens in May 2014. In a great interview with IndieWIRE, Lois Vossen picks out The Trials of Muhammad Ali as a highlight of the upcoming series, which has boosted too its highest ever ratings since moving to Monday nights (in part due to #PBSneedsindies).

Until then, we'll keep fighting to bring the film to you!