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Kevin Macdonald to direct Whitney Houston documentary


- Highs and lows of the late musician to be recorded in authorised account

Kevin Macdonald to direct Whitney Houston documentary
Late singer Whitney Houston (© Michel Comte)

British filmmaker Kevin Macdonald will direct the officially authorised documentary on the late, iconic, musician Whitney Houston. The production has been given Houston’s estate’s blessing to tell the unvarnished and authentic story of the singer’s life in a film that will examine both the highs and lows of her dramatic career. Amongst the interviewees will be Clive Davis, founder and president of Arista Records, currently chief creative officer of Sony Music Entertainment and who is acknowledged for bringing Houston to prominence. Simon Chinn produces alongside his Lightbox Media (UK) partner Jonathan Chinn and Lisa Erspramer. Altitude Film Sales is introducing the project to buyers at the Cannes Film Market with UK rights acquired by Altitude Film Distribution. Altitude’s Will Clarke, Andy Mayson and Mike Runagall will executive produce.

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The team behind the project have many accolades. Macdonald won the Oscar for Best Documentary, Features, in 2000 for One Day in September and the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film for The Last King of Scotland [+see also:
film profile
at the 2007 BAFTAs. Simon Chinn has won the Oscar for Best Documentary, Features twice – in 2008 for producing James Marsh’s Man on Wire [+see also:
film profile
and in 2013 for producing Malik Bendjelloul’s Searching for Sugar Man [+see also:
film profile
. In 2001, Jonathan Chinn won the Primetime Emmy in the Outstanding Non-Fiction Program (Reality) category for American High. In 2014, Erspramer was nominated for a Primetime Emmy in the Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special for Running From Crazy and in 1999 for a Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding Talk Show category for The Oprah Winfrey Show

With over 200 million album sales worldwide, and remaining the only artist to chart seven consecutive US No. 1’s, Whitney Houston became one of the most celebrated musicians of all time. However these achievements are overshadowed by a tragic story of addiction and self-destruction. 

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. 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 archives. 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.”

Last year, Altitude released Asif Kapadia’s documentary Amy [+see also:
film profile
in the UK and the film went on to gross £3.8 million.

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