Tennis legends Serena and Venus Williams and Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Studios have boarded the feature documentary “COPA 71,” about the 1971 Women’s World Cup of soccer.
The Williams sisters will serve as executive producers on the film, which is a Dogwoof and New Black Films co-production. The project is executive produced and backed by Westbrook.
Currently in production and promising never-before-seen archival footage, “COPA 71” tells the story of the 1971 Women’s World Cup, which saw soccer teams from all over the world gather in Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium to compete in front of more than 100,000 spectators. It was the last women’s World Cup until the official FIFA event 20 years later. Dismissed by both FIFA and domestic football associations around the world, the event was written out of history — until now.
In addition to her legendary career as one of the greatest and most decorated tennis players of all time, Serena Williams is also one of the backers for the women majority-owned Los Angeles female professional soccer team, Angel City FC.
“’Copa 71’ tells the story of one of the most inspirational and significant moments in women’s sports history,” said Serena Williams. “It’s an honor to partner with my sisters and Westbrook Studios to help bring this magical story to light, which has been buried for far too long.”
Venus Williams added: “When I heard about the 1971 Women’s World Cup, I couldn’t believe this incredible story was erased from our history books. I’m excited to team with my sisters and Westbrook Studios to help elevate and empower fellow female athletes and their accomplishments, and to make sure these women have their voices heard through this inspiring documentary.”
The film slots into a burgeoning documentary slate from Westbrook, the studio set up by Smith and Pinkett Smith in 2019. Last summer, Westbrook Studios announced its first feature documentary, which chronicles the Full Circle expedition — the first all-Black climbing team to summit Mount Everest — as they shift the legacy in the historically white-dominated sport. On the series side, Westbrook Studios is also behind the forthcoming Netflix docuseries “African Queens.”
“COPA 71” is co-directed by James Erskine (“Billie”) and first-timer Rachel Ramsay. Victoria Gregory (“Battle of the Sexes”) will produce on behalf of New Black Films alongside Westbrook Studios’ Jannat Gargi (“Summer of Soul”) and Dogwoof’s Anna Godas (“Citizen Ashe”). Executive producers include Alex Holmes on behalf of New Black Films, Jon Mone on behalf of Westbrook Studios and Isha Price.
London-based documentary specialists Dogwoof work across production, sales, and U.K. theatrical distribution. The company has so far released 28 Oscar-nominated documentaries, with four wins and an additional three BAFTA winners. New Black Films, which is also based in London, specializes in the stories of history-changers in the sport and performance space.