(ATR) The U.S. Gymnastics sexual abuse saga will be told in a new documentary on HBO in 2019.
"At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal" is based on years of research by producers David Ulich and Dr. Steven Ungerleider. Erin Lee Carr is the director.
The 90-minute film includes interviews with the gymnasts who revealed the crimes of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.
"They had the courage to stand up, to be confident," Ungerleider tells Around the Rings. He credits a former director of USA Gymnastics as the whistle blower for calling attention to the scandal.
Ungerleider says the film has been in production for 18 months and that final edits are being made.
While he says interviews with victims will be the most poignant highlights of the film, Ungerleider says the documentary will deal with what he terms "the disconnect"of institutions such as the U.S. Olympic Committee and U.S. Gymnastics. He says those institutions failed to protect athletes.
Ungerleider says he expects the film to premiere by September 2019.
"I think this will bring new energy to the push against sexual abuse of athletes," he says.
"We are thrilled HBO has picked up At the Heart of Gold," Ulich tells Around the Rings. "Ultimately, our goal is for more people to understand what happened with USA Gymnastics and the Larry Nassar case, and we see this film as an important step in accomplishing that objective."
Ulich, an attorney in Los Angeles and Ungerleider, a sports psychologist in Oregon, have been involved in the Olympic Movement for 40 years. Ungerleider wrote the best-seller Faust’s Gold, exposing the East German doping machine.
The two men also produced "Munich '72 and Beyond," a 44-minute film the gives the perspective of the families of Israeli team members killed in the terrorist attack at the Munich Olympics.
Reported by Ed Hula.