A new documentary about Billie Holiday, entitled Billie, is currently in the works with backing from Concord, the successor to the Billie Holiday estate. Directed by James Erskine, the film will include never-before-heard interviews with the legendary jazz singer's contemporaries.
The documentary will take viewers through Holiday's life via Linda Lipnack Kuehl's perspective, a fan and journalist who began a biography in 1971. Kuehl recorded over 200 hours of interviews with individuals from Holiday's life, such as Charles Mingus, Sarah Vaughan, Tony Bennett, Count Basie and Holiday's step-parents, lovers, school friends, jail-mates, lawyers, pushers, pimps, and even the FBI agents who arrested her.
Although Kuehl died in 1979 with her book unfinished, the tapes will now be heard for the first time in Billie. Brazilian colorization artist Marina Amaral will also be working on the filmed and still images to use new techniques she has pioneered to update them from black and white.
The documentary is being produced by New Black Films' Victoria Gregory and Barry Clark-Ewers, and REP Documentary’s Laure Vaysse. Concord’s Scott Pascucci and Sophia Dilley are executive producing along with Will Clarke, Andy Mayson, and Mike Runagall at Altitude Film Sales.
Billie, which is currently in post-production, is also being made in association with Belga Films, the BBC, and Multiprises.
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Article image: Billie Holiday performing at Club Bali, Washington, DC. (Ralph F. Seghers c/o Ken Seghers [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons.)