Altitude has boarded “The Capote Tapes,” the feature documentary that has never-heard-before interviews with Truman Capote and that will have its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. Altitude will handle international sales on the film, which is directed by Ebs Burnough, a former White House adviser to Michelle Obama. It will co-rep the U.S. with Endeavor Content.
“The Capote Tapes” filmmakers had unprecedented access to taped interviews with Capote made as part of an oral biography of the writer by George Plimpton, co-founder of The Paris Review. Using the tapes, animation, and new on-camera interviews with people who knew him, the film explores the impact of Capote’s explosive unfinished novel “Answered Prayers.”
The first chapter of the novel was released in 1975, revealing the intimate secrets, from adultery to murder, of Manhattan’s high society. There are various theories as to what happened to the full work: did Capote destroy it, or did he never complete it, or hide it away, waiting for it to be found after his death?
Burnough said he knew Capote as the author of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “In Cold Blood” but did not know anything about the man himself before embarking on the film project.
“This documentary has allowed me to explore Truman, the orphaned, little gay boy from Alabama, who became a star on the world stage,” he said. “I am thrilled to be partnering with Altitude on this project, as our hope is that we can shed light on an often misunderstood genius, who still remains as relevant today as he did 50 years ago.”
The film is a Hatch House Media production in association with Mville Films. BAFTA winner Nick Fraser, formerly commissioning editor at the influential BBC docs strand Storyville, is among the exec producers.
Burnough produces with Lawrence Elman. Pierre Lagrange, Lex Lutzus, and Fraser executive produce. “Ebs’ take on the Capote story is revelatory and shines a new light on a universal story adding relevance for today and for tomorrow,” Elman said. “Ebs is an instinctual storyteller with a natural and easy going narrative expertise. This story could not have been told by anyone else.”