LONDON — Kevin Macdonald, who won an Oscar for “One Day in September,” is to direct a theatrical feature documentary about the life of Whitney Houston. It is the first documentary to be officially authorized by her estate.
The film will be produced by Simon Chinn, who won Oscars for “Man on Wire” and “Searching for Sugar Man,” his Lightbox Media partner Jonathan Chinn (“Fantastic Lies,” “American High”) and Lisa Erspamer (“Running From Crazy”). Altitude Film Sales is introducing the project to buyers at the Cannes Film Festival, with U.K. rights acquired by Altitude Film Distribution. Will Clarke, Andy Mayson and Mike Runagall will executive produce.
The film will include an interview with Clive Davis, founder and president of Arista Records, currently chief creative officer of Sony Music Entertainment, who is acknowledged for bringing Houston to prominence.
Houston broke more records than any other female singer in the history of popular music, with over 200 million album sales worldwide, and inspired a generation of singers from Mariah Carey and Lady Gaga to Beyoncé.
However her achievements became overshadowed by a story of addiction and self-destruction. With unprecedented access to friends, family and collaborators, some of whom have never told their side of the story, Macdonald’s documentary will tell the complete story of Houston’s life from the point of view of those who knew her best.
Macdonald said: “The story that is never told about Whitney is just how brilliant she was as an artist; by many measures she had the greatest voice of the last 50 years. She changed the way pop music was sung — bringing it back full circle to its blues and gospel roots. She was also completely unique in being a black pop star who sold in countries where black artists don’t traditionally sell.”
Macdonald added: “We have access to never-before-seen footage of Whitney that charts her whole life from her beginnings singing in her Church’s gospel choir to the day of her tragic death at the age of 48, and three decades of her music including exclusive demo recordings, rare performances and audio archive. Although we won’t shy away from the darker parts of Whitney’s life — her descent into addiction — I want audiences to walk out of the cinema and feel positive about Whitney and her music. I want to reveal a woman that even her most die-hard fans never knew; and a woman those new to her life and music will never forget.”