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Thirty years, nearly to the day, since German motor racing legend Michael Schumacher first joined the Formula One circuit and six years since a near-fatal skiing accident took him out of the limelight, Netflix has unveiled the global launch of documentary Schumacher, on the life and career of one of the sport’s most iconic figures.
The documentary, which will trace Schumacher’s rise from humble beginnings racing around a gravel pit in Kerpen in West Germany to his domination of Formula One — he has a joint-record seven World Drivers’ Championship titles and, at the time of his 2012 retirement, held the all-time record for most wins (91) — will launch exclusively on Netflix worldwide Sept. 15.
Schumacher was made in collaboration with Schumacher’s family and features interviews with his wife, Corinna, brother and fellow F1 driver Ralf, and his two children, Gina and Mick, the latter of whom made his F1 debut this year. For most, it is the first time they have spoken openly since Schumacher’s accident. The documentary also features interviews with some of Schumacher’s closest peers and fiercest rivals, including F1 drivers and former world champions Sebastian Vettel, Mika Häkkinen and Damon Hill, as well as former Formula One CEO Bernie Ecclestone.
“Michael Schumacher has redefined the professional image of a racing driver and has set new standards. In his quest for perfection, he spared neither himself nor his team, driving them to the greatest successes,” said Sabine Kehm, Schumacher’s longtime manager, in a statement. “He found the strength for this task and the balance to recharge at home, with his family, whom he loves idolatrously. In order to preserve his private sphere as a source of strength, he has always rigorously and consistently separated his private from his public life. This film tells of both worlds. It is his family’s gift to their beloved husband and father.”
Hanns-Bruno Kammertöns, Vanessa Nöcker, and Michael Wech directed Schumacher with Benjamin Seikel and Nöcker of Germany’s B|14 Film producing.
“The documentary was a big challenge and needed a lot of time and sensitivity, considering the pressure that was put on the production from the outside,” said Seikel. “But thanks to a great team and a really great collaboration with the family, we didn’t let ourselves get rattled. We’re grateful that it’s finally getting underway and excited about its global release on Netflix. The film was always intended to be an international documentary and we’re confident it will be embraced as such.”
“The greatest challenge for the directors was certainly to find the balance between independent reporting and consideration for the family,” added Nöcker. “Corinna Schumacher herself was our greatest support in this. She herself wanted to make an authentic film, to show Michael as he is, with all his ups and downs, without any sugarcoating. She was great and brave enough to let us do what we wanted, and so we respected and kept her boundaries. A very inspiring, warm woman who made a lasting impression on all of us.”
Sales and financing group Rocket Science, which is handling global sales and distribution on Schumacher, set up the deal with Netflix.
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