Venus and Serena

Venus and Serena

Executive Producer:
Associate Producer:
Associate Editor:
Production Company:
  • M+M Films

* Most external filmography links go to The Internet Movie Database.

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Venus and Serena (2013)

Opened: 05/10/2013 Limited

Royal05/10/2013 - 05/23/201314 days
Village East05/10/2013 - 05/16/20137 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home, Facebook

Genre: Documentary

Rated: PG-13 for some strong language.

Discover The Truth Behind The Legends


Venus and Serena takes an unfiltered look into the remarkable lives of the greatest sister-act professional tennis has ever seen. In a sport where they were not welcomed, the indomitable Williams sisters faced the opposition with grace and courage not only breaking new ground for female and African American athletes everywhere, but dominating the women's game for over a decade. The film tells the inspiring story of how these two women, against all odds, but with the help of visionary parents, made it to the top.

Venus and Serena also explores the struggle of these two aging superstars during the 2011 tennis season as they battle life and career-threatening health problems. In Venus and Serena we gain unprecedented access into the sisters' lives - both in the spotlight and behind closed doors -- and we watch as they draw their greatest strengths from one another to overcome countless adversities.

Selected Quotes

"An engaging, warts-and-all look at the Williams sisters, of interest to more than just sports fans. The footage of them together and apart, in the spotlight and behind closed doors, gives a far better sense of the sisters as sisters -- and as human beings living their lives -- than do reams of sports reportage and Internet celebrity gossip." - Alissa Simon, Variety

"An enthralling and insightful documentary about two supreme sibling athletes. A must for tennis fans, it's at its best when it goes behind-the-scenes with the sisters as they try and overcome injury, strain in the gym and on the training court." - Mark Adams, Screen

"An engaging portrait that wins the game." -- David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

"An outstanding documentary." -- Kaleem Aftab, The Independent

"It gives us a lot more of the sisters than we've ever seen--they are a joy to watch, and you can't help but root for them. It's tough to watch them and not be inspired by them." -- Tambay Obenson, Shadow and Act on Indiewire

Selected Festivals

  • 2012 Toronto International Film Festival
  • 2013 Miami International Film Festival
  • 2012 DOC NYC
  • 2012 Tribeca Film Festival
  • 2012 Bermuda Docs Film Festival

Director's Statement

The amazing story of the Williams sisters needed to be told as it is a shining example of what the human spirit can achieve with belief, hard work and blind determination. Ever since Venus and Serena burst onto the scene - as two rising tennis stars in the early 90s - the world has been captivated by them. What was it about these two African-American sisters and their incredible bond that made them so special? The story of how they were able to rise above their humble beginnings to confidently take on an exclusive sport which had no place for two black girls from the ghetto, has meaning for anyone who's ever dreamed of beating the odds. Their journey is an education and inspiration for us all.

-- Maiken Baird and Michelle Major

About the Filmmakers

Michelle Major (Director / Producer)

Michelle Major has worked in television and film for more than 15 years. Michelle got her start on the Barbara Walters film verite documentary Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus: But We Have to Live on Earth. Later, she became a member of the producing team for Peter Jennings critically acclaimed and groundbreaking documentary project The Century. She was also one of the original producers to bring the ABC News show Lifetime Live to the Lifetime channel. Additionally, she contributed to ABCs World News Weekend, finding her niche producing features about race, religion and the urban experience.

In 2003 Michelle began working with Diane Sawyer producing celebrity interviews as well as stories on hot-button issues across the nation and oversees. At ABCs Good Morning America, she was part of an award winning team and was personally responsible for producing several shows dealing with national topics ranging from the 2008 Presidential election to Hurricane Katrina. She also produced top profiles on international leaders and their nations such as; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Iran), Felipe Calderon (Mexico), Hamid Karzai (Afghanistan), Bashar al-Assad (Syria) and President Obama.

Michelle has a BA in Psychology and Film Studies from Columbia University. She also holds a Masters in General Psychology from The New School for Social Research. She is a proud native of Harlem, NY and currently lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn.

Maiken Baird (Director / Producer)

Maiken Baird is an independent documentary filmmaker who specializes in international and political affairs. She produced Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, with Academy Award winning director and producer Alex Gibney. In 2011, Client 9 was nominated for best documentary feature by the Producers and the Directors Guild of America and was also nominated for three Emmy Awards.

Maiken co-produced Chicago 10, a documentary feature on the Chicago Seven and the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Chicago 10 was directed by Brett Morgan and produced by Graydon Carter.

Maiken began her documentary career at ABC News as a researcher for Peter Jennings News Specials. She went on to produce documentaries for New York Times Television and National Geographic on a wide range of topics including: Women of the Holy Kingdom on the lives of women in Saudi Arabia, Nuclear Nightmare: Understanding North Korea, TB: Time Bomb on Russia's tuberculosis epidemic and The Smallpox Curse on the eradication of small pox. She produced A&Es Biography of the Millennium, on the 100 most influential people of the last one thousand years and associate produced Biographies of Joseph Stalin and Eva Peron. She segment produced MTVs True Life: Fatal Dose, on heroin abuse by affluent teens in Plano, Texas.

Prior to becoming a documentary filmmaker Maiken worked at the United Nations in New York, the European Union in Brussels and the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. She obtained a Master's degree in International Relations and Political Science from Stanford University in 1992 and a BA in Political Science from Columbia University in 1989. Maiken is trilingual in English, French and Danish and lives in London with her husband and three children.