The story of the Special Olympics has been well told. So Robin Roberts is offering a new one.
The “Good Morning America” co-anchor is an executive producer of ‘All You Hear Is Noise,” a new unscripted project that examines the paths of three Special Olympics contestants — Trent Hampton, Melanie Holmes, and Chris Wines — who travel to the United Arab Emirates to compete in the Special Olympics World Games, but face challenges in employment, relationships, and more upon their return.
The project has been produced by SpringHill Company, the content production unit backed by LeBron James, and its “Uninterrupted” brand, which focuses on athlete empowerment, along with Roberts’ own Rock’n Robin Productions. The film debuts at the Tribeca Film Festival.
“I think people have an idea of what the Special Olympics is about, but I think they’re going to be blown away by seeing these athletes before and after the World Games, and the impact not only on their lives but on those of the families and coaches,” says Roberts, in an interview.
In the film, Hampton grapples with his success on the athletic field, but seeks respect back home while Holmes, a cyclist, faces a new hurdle when she moves to a new town after competing. Wines is able to join the U.S. Navy but worries that his condition may affect his time in the armed forces. Producers were eager to bring forth a project that subverts many themes often utilized when chronicling people with disabilities, who are often portrayed in inspirational storylines.
“I really believe that when people watch the documentary, they are going to have a fuller understanding of why Eunice Kennedy Shriver created this way back when,” says Roberts. “They are going to have a better understanding of why it really involves.”
She enjoyed working with SpringHill — “we just get it,” Roberts says — but notes that her production unit, Rock’n Robin, isn’t designed to produce a set number of projects over any specific time period. “The reason I created Rock’n Robin was that I wanted to be able to tell stories that are meaningful to me,” she says. “There is no hard number of projects that I have to hit.”
Besides, she says, she has a pretty heady day job, which can be ‘all encompassing.” She still aims to keep pursuing her own ideas. “It’s just what feels authentic and real, and whether the public will get something out if that,’” she says.