×

‘I Am Dick Gregory’ Documentary in the Works From Andre Gaines (EXCLUSIVE)

Buffalo 8 Productions is partnering with filmmaker Andre Gaines to fast-track the documentary “I Am Dick Gregory,” Variety has learned exclusively.

The film, which chronicles the complex life of the late comedian, activist and author, is due to wind up production in the coming weeks in Los Angeles. Gaines and his team have amassed over 300 hours of archival footage of Gregory, who died on Aug. 19, including footage shot since last year. The producers are in early discussions with distributors.

Gaines had been working Gregory and his family on the project with the Gregory’s son Christian on board as an executive producer. Gaines and Valerie Edwards are producing through their Cinemation banner, alongside Michele Farinola. The other exec producers include Luke Taylor, Matthew Helderman and Patrick DePeters through Buffalo 8 and Chad Troutwine.

Dick Gregory is one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th and 21st Centuries,” Gaines said. “I say ‘is’ because he is still present to me, like he is to so many who admired his wit, intellect, jokes and wisdom. Telling his story and working with his son Christian to honor his legacy is as meaningful to me and my team as the short time we spent with Dick Gregory himself.”

Christian Gregory noted that his father was omitted during the “In Memoriam” segment of the Emmy Awards that aired Sept. 17 — the same weekend of his funeral.

“Although it is a highly disrespectful omission, I am certain of the fact my father would have had some colorful remarks to say about it before hurrying back to the hard work of fighting for justice and uplifting humanity,” he added. “I am especially proud of the work that Andre has been doing to tell his story. I know Dick Gregory was proud to be a part of the film before he passed.”

Gregory was the first black standup comic to perform in major white nightclubs, paving the way for Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock. At the height of his career in the 1960s, Gregory abandoned that career for the civil rights movement, supporting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Medgar Evers. He also became a health and spiritual advocate and motivational speaker.

Gregory also wrote “Murder in Memphis” which analyzed the 1968 assassination of King.” His most recent book is “Defining Moments in Black History: Reading Between the Lines.”

Producers plan to launch international sales at the American Film Market, which starts Oct. 31 in Santa Monica, Calif.

“Dick Gregory has been an integral part of every major American historical event since the 1950s, but he unfortunately has not always been given credit where it is due, especially in Hollywood,” Edwards said.  “Our film will change that by finally telling the truth, and reintroducing Dick Gregory and his legacy to a new generation.”

Buffalo 8 produced the Netflix Original Film “Rodney King.” Gaines’ credits include the “Bill Nye: Science Guy”  documentary and “Black Samurai” on Starz.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Visions du Réel Reimagined as Digital

    Switzerland's Visions du Réel Reimagined as Digital Only Event

    Visions du Réel, a film festival in Nyon, Switzerland, has changed the format of its next edition to accommodate the restrictions imposed by the Swiss government in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Originally planned to run from April 24 to May 2, the festival will now be a digital-only event held over a longer period, [...]

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Announces Dues Extension Program for Members During Coronavirus Pandemic

    SAG-AFTRA has developed a program to provide dues relief for SAG-AFTRA members during the Covid-19 pandemic with an extension of the May 1 deadline. “Members experiencing financial hardship resulting from work stoppages related to Covid-19 will be granted a due date extension and an installment plan for those payments,” the union said. “As part of [...]

  • Studio Babelsberg

    Terminated 'Matrix 4,' 'Uncharted' Film Crews Demand Help From Studio Babelsberg

    Germany’s Studio Babelsberg is seeking to find a settlement with hundreds of film crew members following the shutdown earlier this month of Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix 4” and Sony Pictures’ “Uncharted” amid the coronavirus outbreak. The production stop has left many independent film crew members without pay and more than 300 have formed a working [...]

  • Empty movie theater

    Theater Owners Create $2.4 Million Fund for Cinema Workers

    The National Association of Theatre Owners and the Pioneers Assistance Fund have created an initial $2.4 million fund to provide financial assistance to movie theater employees who need help due to the coronavirus pandemic. The organizations said Monday that the first part of the initiative is a grant program that will provide a stipend to [...]

  • Bob Chapek Bob Iger Disney

    Bob Iger to Give Up Salary, Other Senior Disney Executives to Take Pay Cuts

    Disney has joined the list of companies implementing sizable pay cuts for senior executives amid the upheaval caused by the coronavirus crisis. Bob Iger, who shifted from chairman-CEO to executive chairman last month, has opted to forgo his salary for the year. Bob Chapek, who succeeded Iger as CEO, has taken a 50% pay cut. [...]

  • Sundance Horror Movie 'Relic' Picked Up

    Sundance Horror Movie 'Relic,' Starring Emily Mortimer, Picked Up By Film Constellation

    London-based production, finance and sales company Film Constellation has boarded the critically-lauded “Relic,” the debut feature from Natalie Erika James. The film, which stars Emily Mortimer (“Shutter Island”), Robyn Nevin (“The Matrix Trilogy”) and Bella Heathcote (“The Neon Demon”), had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in the Midnight section. The film, which [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content