Bleacher Report is set to unveil their second feature-length documentary, and their first distributed through an outside partner; in this case, Showtime. In 2016, B/R came out with their first feature-length documentary, Vick, which they distributed on their own website and app. Now, they’ve done a second documentary, Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story, on the life of the man now known as Metta World Peace. That film is directed by Johnny Sweet, who wrote, produced and directed Vick, and it will premiere on Showtime May 31.
Here’s more from a joint Bleacher Report/Showtime release:
Showtime Networks Inc. announced today the acquisition of rights to the award-winning documentary QUIET STORM: THE RON ARTEST STORY based on the turbulent life of one of the NBA’s most controversial figures. Directed by Johnny Sweet (VICK) and written by journalist Tom Friend, QUIET STORM: THE RON ARTEST STORY is produced by Bleacher Report and will premiere on SHOWTIME during Mental Health Awareness Month on Friday, May 31 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
…“The tale of Metta World Peace and his transformation from a young man surrounded by violence and temptation into the man we know today is as dramatic and captivating as his legacy on the court,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports & Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “QUIET STORM captures this explosive evolution with honesty and candidness. It includes the impact he had on those closest to him and on those left in his wake. We are proud to add the Metta World Peace story to the growing slate of compelling, relevant and contemporary SHOWTIME Sports Documentary Films.”
…“As a kid who grew up in New York City in the 80s and 90s, I remember watching Metta play at an early age,” added Sweet, a Bleacher Report producer. “He embodied what New York basketball fans loved: a tough relentless two-way player. He was never more authentic than after his 2010 title clinching shot with the Lakers when he said, ‘I want to thank my psychiatrist.’ Whether he meant to have an impact or not, Ron saved lives that day simply by being honest and guileless.”
As per the release, the documentary will feature interviews with Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Elton Brand, Jermaine O’Neal and Bill Walton, as well as psychologist Dr. Santhi Pariasamy. And it will cover everything from World Peace’s childhood in the Queensbridge projects in the 80s to his time at St. John’s to his NBA career, and will include interviews with his family as well. The film already won Best Documentary at the 2019 Santa Barbara Film Festival, and has been featured at several other film festivals as well.
On the Showtime end, their release mentions that this is the latest in their series of “culturally relevant unscripted programming,” which also includes Bipolar Rock N’ Roller (Mauro Ranallo), Shut Up And Dribble (the LeBron James-produced multipart NBA documentary), Disgraced (on the 2003 murder of Patrick Dennehy and the Baylor basketball scandal), and the upcoming four-part Action documentary series on sports gambling. It’s interesting to see them pick up a documentary from Bleacher Report, but this feels like a logical partnership; B/R gets wider distribution for their film, while Showtime gets something that seems to fit tonally with some of their other recent documentary projects. We’ll see how it turns out.