THE DOCUMENTARY "THE SERGE IBAKA STORY" MAKES ITS US PREMIERE AUG 1 ON CRACKLE. CHECK YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS FOR TIME.
Compiled By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Produced by LeBron James' company, Uninterrupted Canada and Ouenzé Entertainment, the documentary, “The Serge Ibaka Story” airs Aug. 1 on Crackle TV (Check local listings for time) and follows the inspirational life story of Toronto Raptors' power forward, Serge Ibaka from the poverty-stricken streets of the Republic of Congo to the NBA championship.
As one of the only AVODs continually adding original and exclusive programming that uplifts, entertains, and inspires audiences, Crackle adds “Anything is Possible--The Serge Ibaka Story” alongside original and exclusive titles that can only be found on Crackle, including “Road to Race Day,” “On Point,” “Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters,” “The Clearing,” “Crown Vic,” “85: The Greatest Team in Football History,” “Wonders of the Sea,” “Yelawolf: A Slumerican Life,” and “Going From Broke,” which recently picked up for a second season.
Making its world debut at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, the feature length documentary “Anything is Possible--The Serge Ibaka Story” was produced by Vinay Virmani at Uninterrupted Canada, along with Jordi Vilà and Serge Ibaka's Ouenzé Entertainment. The documentary follows the Toronto Raptors' power forward as he makes an emotional journey back to the Republic of Congo with the Larry O'Brien trophy following the team's 2019 NBA Championship.
Ibaka takes viewers through the streets he grew up on after he lost his mother and his father was imprisoned for political reasons. He talks basketball with the President of the Republic of Congo, returns to a restaurant where he once begged for food, and visits with his old coach and the basketball club where he fell in love with the game.
Ibaka continues to give back to his community through the Serge Ibaka Foundation and Dreams Academy, where local children come for mentorship and coaching in the hopes of earning a college scholarship.
Throughout it all, he continually teaches everyone around him that through courage, commitment, and hard work, ANYTHING is possible.
"I wanted to tell my story in a unique and different way," said Ibaka. "I will never forget where I come from, and my journey to becoming an NBA Champion has been hard to believe. I think everyone can enjoy this film, but I will be especially proud if I can inspire at least one kid, in Congo or anywhere in the world, to give their all to reach for their dreams."
"We are very proud to bring Anything is Possible - The Serge Ibaka Story to our Crackle audience," said Philippe Guelton, president of Crackle Plus. "This stirring documentary will not just entertain our sports-hungry viewers, it will inspire viewers to witness how Serge overcame so many obstacles to achieve his dreams."
"This marks Uninterrupted Canada's first international distribution agreement and we couldn't be prouder to have partnered with a world class streaming service like Crackle Plus," said Vinay Virmani, chief content officer of Uninterrupted Canada. "I'm excited that this inspirational story will be enjoyed by a new and expanded global audience."
“Anything is Possible - The Serge Ibaka Story” is distributed in North America and Africa by Screen Media, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment company, and the supplier of exclusive and original content for Crackle Plus.
Crackle is available in the U.S. and can be accessed on 25 devices and services including Amazon FireTV, RokuTV, Apple TV, Smart TVs (Samsung, LG, Vizio), gaming consoles (PS4 and XBoxOne), Plex, iOS and Android mobile devices and on desktops at Crackle.com. Crackle is also available in approximately 500,000 hotel rooms in the Marriott Bonvoy chain.
ABOUT CRACKLE PLUS, A CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY
Crackle Plus owns and operates ad-supported VOD networks Crackle and Popcornflix and garners 50 million streams of its movies and TV shows per month, making it one of the largest AVOD streaming platforms in the U.S. Crackle Plus has over 78,000 hours of content available across all its networks, and premieres at least one original and one exclusive program each month, differentiating it from other AVODs. Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSSE) owns a majority stake in the company formed with Sony Pictures Television. Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment also acquires and distributes video content through its Screen Media subsidiary and produces original long and short-form content through Landmark Studio Group, its Chicken Soup for the Soul Originals division and APlus.com. Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment is a subsidiary of Chicken Soup for the Soul, LLC, which publishes the famous book series and produces super-premium pet food under the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand name.
ABOUT SCREEN MEDIA VENTURES, LLC:
Screen Media Ventures, LLC, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSSE) company, acquires the rights to high quality, independent television series and feature films for the US and Canada. Screen Media Ventures acquires worldwide rights for distribution through theatrical, home video, pay-per-view, free, cable and pay television, video-on-demand, and new digital media platforms. The company acquires AVOD rights for third party networks and is the main supplier of content for Crackle Plus and other Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment properties. With a library of over 1,500 television series and motion pictures, Screen Media Ventures is one of the largest independent suppliers of high-quality tv series and motion pictures to U.S. and international broadcast markets, cable networks, home video outlets and new media venues. For more information, visit www.screenmedia.net.
ABOUT UNINTERRUPTED CANADA: Co-led by CEO Scott Moore and Chief Content Officer Vinay Virmani, this is the first international expansion of the athlete empowerment brand, Uninterrupted founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter.
The company is built upon the radical idea that all athletes should have a platform to express themselves without intermediaries. From this premise, a mission was born: to empower athletes from all walks of life to communicate in an unimpeded way and to be More Than an Athlete. Uninterrupted is upending the world of sports media by working with athletes to tell unique, human stories from their point of view.
Through content, products, events, partnerships and educational opportunities, Uninterrupted is changing the way athletes engage with the public and empowering them to be known and valued for more than the sport they play.
Editor’s Note: Information used in this report obtained from Crackle TV publicity.
IN OTHER TV NEWS:
HBO Max greenlights animated series “Young Love,’ based on the Academy Award-winning short film “Hair Love” from creator Matthew A. Cherry and Sony Pictures Animation.
Cherry, will showrun with long-time animation creative Carl Jones (“The Boondocks” and “Black Dynamite”). The series will be executive produced by Blue Key Entertainment's Monica A. Young (producer of “Hair Love”) along with Lion Forge Animation's David Steward II and Carl Reed.
“Hair Love” centers around the relationship between an African-American father, his daughter Zuri, and the most daunting task a father could ever come across - doing his daughter's hair for the first time. The short resonated with people everywhere, especially fathers who found themselves in similar situations.
The all-new animated series “Young Love” expands on the family introduced in Hair Love. Filled with comedy and heart, Young Love is an honest look into the world of the Young family - including millennial parents Stephen and Angela, their daughter Zuri and her pet cat Rocky - as they juggle their careers, marriage, parenthood, social issues, and multi-generational dynamics all while striving to make a better life for themselves.
"Hair Love struck a chord that is still resonating deeply with audiences of all ages," said Billy Wee, SVP, Original Animation, HBO Max. "Matthew and Sony Animation's creative voices are a welcomed addition to the HBO Max family and we can't wait to bring this joyous story to the world."
"I am beyond excited to continue telling the story of Stephen, Angela and Zuri and further explore the family dynamics of a young Black millennial family we established in our short film Hair Love as an animated series," said Cherry. "Couldn't ask for better partners in Sony Pictures Animation and HBO Max in helping us get Young Love out to the world."
Said Karen Rupert Toliver, executive vice president of creative for Sony Pictures Animation and Oscar-winning producer of “Hair Love,” "It's a privilege to continue our partnership with Matthew Cherry, who has a gift for tapping into meaningful stories that touch our hearts. I personally can't wait to collectively laugh and cry with the Young family."
ABOUT HBO MAX:
HBO Max is WarnerMedia's direct-to-consumer offering, which debuted May 27, 2020. With 10,000 hours of curated premium content, HBO Max offers powerhouse programming for everyone in the home, bringing together HBO, a robust slate of new original series, key third-party licensed programs and movies, and fan favorites from WarnerMedia's rich library including Warner Bros., New Line, DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes and more. Website: HBOMax.com.
Warner Media is a leading media and entertainment company that creates and distributes premium and popular content from a diverse array of talented storytellers and journalists to global audiences through its consumer brands including: HBO, HBO Now, HBO Max, Warner Bros., TNT, TBS, truTV, CNN, DC, New Line, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies and others. Warner Media is part of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T).
ABOUT SONY PICTURES ANIMATION:
Sony Pictures Animation produces a variety of animated entertainment for audiences around the world. The visually groundbreaking and critically acclaimed "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" is the studio's latest release, and the winner of the 2019 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The division is also behind hit film series such as "The Smurfs," "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," and "Hotel Transylvania." Next for Sony Pictures Animation are the original feature comedy "Connected" produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, and the studio's first-ever animated musical "Vivo," featuring original songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
ABOUT LION FORGE ANIMATION:
Lion Forge Animation is a media company that creates animated content that challenges expectations and reflects the diversity of modern viewing audiences. The culturally significant and critically acclaimed short "Hair Love" was the studio's first release and won an Academy Award(R) in 2020, for "Best Animated Short Film." Founded in 2019, Lion forge Animation is a subsidiary of Polarity, a diversified global media company established in 2018 by David Steward II.
ABOUT MATTHEW A. CHERRY:
Matthew A. Cherry, writer, co-director and producer of “Hair Love” won his first Academy Award for Best Animated Short in 2020. He also authored the New York Times Best Selling picture book which was inspired by his short film. Cherry began his entertainment career in 2007, after playing wide receiver in the National Football League. He worked as a production assistant on more than 40 commercials, and then earned his first directorial credit in 2008 on a music video featuring R&B artist Terry Dexter. He went on to direct more than 20 music videos for a wide variety of artists, including Michelle Williams featuring Beyoncé & Kelly Rowland, Snoop Dogg, Chloe x Halle, and many more. His first feature film, "The Last Fall," debuted at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in 2012. His follow-up feature, the innovative "9 Rides," which was shot entirely with an iPhone 6s, premiered at SXSW in 2016. Cherry's additional television credits include directing episodes of "Black-ish," "Mixed-ish," "The Unicorn," "Saved by the Bell" and "The Last O.G."
ABOUT CARL JONES:
Carl Jones is best known for his work as co-executive producer of "The Boondocks" (Adult Swim), the first Cartoon Network program to win a Peabody Award and be nominated for a NAACP Image Award. He served as executive producer and head writer of "Black Dynamite" (Adult Swim). Additionally, Carl co-created "Freaknik The Musical" (Adult Swim) and produced and wrote two seasons of "Legends of Chamberlain Heights" (Comedy Central). Carl wrote for "The Jellies!" (Adult Swim) starring Tyler The Creator and recently wrapped "The Last OG" season 3 (TBS) as showrunner.
Editor’s Note: Information used in this report obtained from HBO press/publicity department.