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RTG Features Produces Coach John Thompson Documentary

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The film centers on legendary basketball coach John Thompson and his Georgetown University program.

RTG Features Produces Coach John Thompson Documentary

RTG Features, the newly established sister studio to basketball media leader SLAM, has announced that it is co-financing and co-producing an upcoming documentary on legendary basketball coach John Thompson and his Georgetown University program as one of the first projects from the company. The film is directed and produced by Kirk Fraser (ESPN 30 for 30's Without Bias) and his May 3rd Films. Jimmy Jenkins (Showtime's Basketball County: In the Water) and Ronny Thompson, THE SON of Coach Thompson and former Hoyas basketball player and assistant coach, also produce.

Thompson, who passed away in August, coached the Georgetown University men's basketball team for almost 30 years, taking them to three Final Four appearances and one national championship. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999, and was a pioneer credited with opening the door for a generation of African-American head coaches. His national title run in 1984 was the first by a Black head coach in college basketball, and his commitment to his players' lives off the court set him apart from his peers. Allen Iverson, Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutombo, and Alonzo Mourning are among the most notable players from his Georgetown teams. The film, which has been in production since June 2019, will include interviews with former players, journalists, influential leaders, and D.C. icons. It will also feature the last interviews Thompson ever gave.

"The Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team shaped a major part of Black American culture in the 1980s," said Fraser. "Coach John Thompson represented Black Excellence and that is what he brought out of those men on and off the court."

Fraser is best known for directing the Peabody Award-winning documentary WITHOUT BIAS for ESPN's 30 for 30, which was also nominated for Outstanding Sports Documentary at the 2010 Sports Emmy Awards. He has also produced numerous TV shows and documentaries, including BASKETBALL COUNTRY: IN THE WATER, AMERICAN GANGSTER and LIL KIM: COUNTDOWN TO LOCKDOWN.

"When Kirk told me about this doc in March, I knew it would be a defining project for RTG and one we had to get involved with," said Aron Phillips, COO at both RTG and SLAM. "And now with Coach Thompson's passing, it's time we all relive the 'Hoya Paranoia' and celebrate the difference a coach can make in a player's life."

RTG, along with indie distributor 1091 Pictures, previously acquired North American distribution rights to the Stephon Marbury feature documentary A KID FROM CONEY ISLAND following its 2019 Tribeca Film Festival premiere. The film was produced by Forest Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi of Significant Productions, along with Jason Samuels. After attaching NBA superstar Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman of Thirty Five Ventures as executive producers, RTG and 1091 released the film with a short theatrical run earlier this year, before going to Netflix in an exclusive deal, where you can now stream RTG's debut project.

"As a Georgetown alumnus, I couldn't be more excited for our team to get behind this project," said Matt Aronson, President of JDS Sports, the parent company of RTG and SLAM. "It represents exactly the kind of high-quality storytelling we want to finance and develop at RTG Features."

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