×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Teddy Pendergrass – If You Don’t Know Me’ Lands at BBC, Showtime, Sky (EXCLUSIVE)

“Teddy Pendergrass – If You Don’t Know Me,” the upcoming feature documentary that tells the tumultuous life story of the R&B and soul legend, will go out on Showtime in the U.S. and Sky Arts and the BBC in the U.K., where Moviehouse will also handle a theatrical release.

The film will premiere at the Philadelphia Film Festival on Friday as part of a festival run that includes DOC NYC and Sound Unseen in Minneapolis. An exclusive first-look can be seen below.

Producer and director Olivia Lichtenstein made the film through U.K.-based factual TV and film banner Storyvault Films. It came about after she watched watching “Supermensch,” Mike Myers’ movie about Hollywood power player Shep Gordon, who was also Pendergrass’ manager. “I called Shep and said, ‘People don’t remember Teddy the way they ought to, and I have to make this film,’ and Shep said, ‘Let’s do it,’” Lichtenstein recalled.

Gordon duly came on board as an exec producer, alongside two of Pendergrass’ other managers, Daniel Markus and Allan Strahl. BBC Films has also boarded as a production partner, alongside Tempo Entertainment and Wasted Talent. Kew Media, which just launched another major music feature documentary, “Chuck Berry,” is handling sales and will have shop “Teddy Pendergrass – If You Don’t Know Me” at the AFM.

Lichtenstein, a BAFTA-winner, said she decided that the voices in the film had to be of people personally acquainted with Pendergrass, who died in 2010, “to make it feel as visceral and alive as possible.”

Pendergrass found success as the lead singer of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, with hits including “Don’t Leave Me This Way” and “If You Don’t Know Me by Now.” He went on to record several hit solo albums in the U.S. On the verge of even greater stardom, Pendergrass was paralyzed after a car accident. He went on to sing again and record five more albums.

“It works on lots of levels,” Lichtenstein said. “It’s interesting because of the music. It’s interesting because of the time. There was this issue of being a crossover artist, this ridiculous distinction between black and white music.”

The filmmaker and former BBC exec adds that the accident prevented Pendergrass from becoming an even bigger mainstream star. “I think that’s why people don’t know him in the same way as a Marvin Gaye or a Luther Vandross,” she said. “What I hope is he’ll get to crossover now, with the film.”

The producers hope that the feature will attract existing fans and bring Pendergrass’ story and music to a new generation. “The way he sings is so authentic it can’t fail to touch you, whatever your age and whatever generation you are from,” Lichtenstein said. “Danny Markus, when he saw a cut of the film, said, ‘You let him sing again,’ which is something we wanted to achieve, so it was nice to feel that has worked.”

More TV

  • Malaka

    RTVE, The Mediapro Studio, Javier Olivares Fast-Track ‘Malaka’

    PAMPLONA, Spain  —  RTVE, The Mediapro Studio and “The Department of Time’s” Javier Olivares are joining forces to fast track “Malaka,” a crime thriller which shows RTVE, Spain’s national public broadcaster, moving into ever more ambitious material as it seeks to attract a nationwide audience now accustomed to the cable edge of streaming platforms. Set [...]

  • La-Loba_pitching_imagen-de-fondo

    Labor Disputes, Dirty Discos, Vanishing Men Pitched at SGAE Conecta Fiction Session

    PAMPLONA, Spain — For the third consecutive year, the Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers (SGAE) hosted a pitching session for TV projects from the Fundación SGAE Laboratory at Spain’s Conecta Fiction co-production and networking TV event, held this year in Pamplona. The SGAE Laboratory gives participants an opportunity to fill out their projects over [...]

  • Ana-Piñeres, VP- Productora Creativa CMO PRODUCCIONES

    Conecta Fiction: Colombia Extends Location Shoot Incentives to Television Series

    In a bid to tap into burgeoning global demand for TV content, Colombia is expanding its location shoot incentives to include international television series. Current incentives have attracted some 40 film and TV movie projects in the past four years, including pics starring A-list actors Tom Cruise, Will Smith and Oscar-winning Spanish actors, Penelope Cruz [...]

  • Peru’s Tondero Unveils New Series at

    Conecta Fiction: Peru’s Tondero Unveils New Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Fresh out of announcing its strategic alliance with America TV and Marca Peru to offer production services in Peru, leading Peruvian production company Tondero is unveiling four new TV series at Conecta Fiction. This is the company’s first foray into television. “We’ve had various projects in development since last year and are seeking co-producers in [...]

  • Geca Compares, Contrasts TV Revolution in

    Conecta Fiction: Geca Compares, Contrasts TV Revolution in Europe, Latin America

    PAMPLONA, Spain  — One issue dominated “Fiction Series, the Tsunami Continues,” a Conecta Fiction presentation by Madrid-based consultancy Gabinete de Estudios de la Comunicación Audiovisual: the impact of streaming services on scripted series, their production and consumption. In an analysis of the main markets in Europe and Latin America which drew on multiple studies and [...]

  • CHAMBERS

    'Chambers' Canceled After One Season at Netflix

    Netflix has canceled the drama series “Chambers” after one season. The series followed a teenager who gets a heart transplant and becomes consumed with the mystery surrounding her donor. The series starred Uma Thurman, Tony Goldwyn, Sivan Alyra Rose, Lilliya Reid, Nicholas Galitzine, Kyanna Simone Simpson, Lilli Kay, Sarah Mezzanotte, and Griffin Powell-Arcand. Leah Rachel [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content