“King Richard,” the Will Smith-starring film about the childhood rise of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams and the father who raised them for greatness, was named today the winner of the Los Angeles Press Club’s seventh annual Veritas Award. The award recognizes the “best film based on or inspired by real events and people.” Films are judged “on fidelity of subject matter and artistic excellence,” according to the Press Club.
“`King Richard’ takes viewers behind the headlines to provide insight on the persistence, discipline, confidence and competitive spirit instilled in them by their parents that helped Venus and Serena Williams forge their groundbreaking careers,” LA Press Club President Lisa Richwine said in a statement.
The film traces the upbringing of the future tennis superstars, beginning with their rigorous training on disheveled tennis courts in Compton to eventually being molded by top trainers in the game — all under the unwavering watch and guidance of their father.
“Bringing the truth of this father, and this family, to the screen was incredibly rewarding,” the filmmakers said in a statement released by the Press Club. “It’s not often we as audiences see — or, as filmmakers, get to tell — such a positive story about the Black community in film. Receiving this honor really brings it home for us, knowing that the Veritas Award recognizes the unsung heroes, not only for their triumphs but also, and more importantly, their humanity.”
Director Reinaldo Marcus Green, along with Tim and Trevor White and executive producer Isha Price, sister of Venus and Serena, will accept the award at a virtual ceremony in February. Previous winners of the Veritas Award are “Spotlight,” “Hidden Figures,” “The Post,” “Green Book,” “Bombshell” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”