In the second major acquisition ahead of the Cannes Film Festival (May 14-25), HBO has picked up the anticipated sports documentary “Diego Maradona,” from Oscar and BAFTA-winner Asif Kapadia, who launched music biodoc “Amy” (A24) at Cannes 2015 before winning the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. Sony Pictures Classics also scooped up Ira Sach’s Competition title “Frankie,” starring Cannes regular Isabelle Huppert.
“Diego Maradona” will have its world premiere as an Official Selection (Out Of Competition). HBO acquired the exclusive U.S. television and streaming rights, announced Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports. HBO will qualify “Diego Maradona” for the documentary Oscar before its debut on the channel on September 24 at 8:00 p.m. (ET/PT); the film will also be available on HBO on Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and partners’ streaming platforms.
Much like his editing feat on race car documentary “Senna,” Kapadia drew on more than 500 hours of never-before-seen footage from the legendary and controversial Argentine footballer’s personal archives. Kapadia also utilizes decades-old news footage and interviews with historians and journalists for his documentary portrait of Maradona, who is considered one of the great soccer players of all time.
Kapadia tells his dramatic story, both on and off the field. After charismatic Diego Maradona arrived in Naples on July 5, 1984, commanding a world-record fee, the football icon and the world’s most dangerous team joined forces for seven years. The Argentine led Napoli to its first league title. “Asif Kapadia’s filmmaking perfectly captures every high and low of his transcendent career, from his controversial ‘Hand of God’ goal to his awakening of Napoli, and more,” said Nelson.
“Having spent three intense years working with my brilliant team of collaborators on the most complex charismatic character, Diego Maradona,” said Kapadia, “I’m excited to see how the North American audience reacts.”
“Diego Maradona” is an HBO Sports presentation in association with On The Corner and Lorton Entertainment; Asif Kapadia directs; James Gay-Rees and Paul Martin produce; executive producers, Asif Kapadia, George Pank, Will Clarke, Julian Bird and Bil Bungay. For HBO: executive producers, Peter Nelson and Bill Simmons; edited by Chris King; original music by Antonio Pinto.