CNN Films is presenting “Love, Gilda,” which will screen at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, produced by 3 Faces Films in association with Motto Pictures. It’s directed and produced by Lisa D’Apolito with the support of the Gilda Radner estate.
The film is told in Radner’s own words. It weaves together audiotapes, home movies, diary entries, and interviews with her friends and those inspired by her, including Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and Cecily Strong; “Saturday Night Live” original cast members Chevy Chase and Laraine Newman, and original music director Paul Shaffer; as well as “SNL” creator and producer Lorne Michaels, “SNL” writer Alan Zweibel, composer Stephen Schwartz, Second City CEO Andrew Alexander, and longtime friend Martin Short.
Radner was as an original cast member of “Saturday Night Live” from 1975-1980, and soared in popularity thanks to her classic comedic characters Roseanne Roseannadanna, Emily Litella, and Lisa Loopner. After finding happiness with Gene Wilder, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Her fight against the disease served as an inspiration to those impacted by the illness to stay positive. She died in 1989.
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“As a festival that has always supported women’s voices and is largely run by women, we are incredibly proud to celebrate the inimitable voice of Gilda during the opening night of our festival,” said Jane Rosenthal, co-founder and CEO of the Tribeca Film Festival. “Gilda Radner was a powerful comedic force of nature who opened doors and thrilled audiences while becoming one of the most prolific comedians of a generation. Her cutting edge humor was only second to her dedicated leadership in cancer care with her eponymous Gilda’s Club.”
“‘Love, Gilda’ is the right film at the right time and the perfect way to open our festival,” said Paula Weinstein, exec VP of Tribeca Enterprises. “Gilda is a woman for the ages, an extraordinary talent in film, television, and theater who overcame her personal struggles to make us laugh, to make us cry. She understood the healing power of laughter not simply for her audience, but in her own life as she struggled with cancer and led the way for all of us to make the world a better place.”
The film is produced by Bronwyn Berry, Meryl Goldsmith, and James Tumminia, with Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn (Motto Pictures), Alan and Robin Zweibel, Amy Entelis, and Courtney Sexton (CNN Films) serving as executive producers. Submarine is handling sales for the film.
The film marks D’Apolito’s feature directorial debut commented. “I fell in love with Gilda Radner while doing pro bono work at Gilda’s Club, the cancer support organization Gene Wilder founded in honor of Gilda, in Greenwich Village where I grew up,” she said.
“This started my journey to discover who Gilda was as a person and as a performer,” D’Apolito added. “Gilda inspired me and many other women with her remarkable spirit and unique talent that changed the world of comedy. I’m grateful and honored to share the extraordinary legacy of Gilda Radner at the Tribeca Film Festival.”
The festival, which runs through April 29, will announce its feature film slate on March 7. The documentary “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives” opened last year’s fest.