The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) – a usual annual first stop for many awards season contenders will be launching the documentary Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me.
It is directed by documentary filmmaker Sam Pollard. The film is the “first major film documentary to examine Davis’ vast talent and his journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th-century America.”
Its description reads: “Featuring new interviews with such luminaries as Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg, Quincy Jones and Kim Novak, with never-before-seen photographs from Davis’ vast personal collection and excerpts from his electric performances in television, film and concert, the film explores the life and art of a uniquely gifted entertainer whose trajectory blazed across the major flashpoints of American society from the Depression through the 1980s.
A press release on the film describes Davis as follows — “…his life was complex, complicated and contradictory. Davis strove to achieve the American Dream in a time of racial prejudice and shifting political territory. He was the veteran of increasingly outdated show business traditions trying to stay relevant; he frequently found himself bracketed by the bigotry of white America and the distaste of black America; he was the most public black figure to embrace Judaism, thereby yoking his identity to another persecuted minority.”
It is produced by American Masters Pictures with ZDF and ARTE. Producers are Sally Rosenthal and Michael Kantor. It is edited by Steven Weschler and written by Laurence Maslon and Michael Kantor is executive producer.
Watch the trailer below: