Indie distributor Greenwich Entertainment has picked up the North American distribution rights to the documentary Billie, which chronicles the story of legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday.
The previously announced documentary draws from the work of journalist Linda Lipnack Kueh and weaves together restored performances in color and interviews with those who knew Holiday (pictured), such as Charles Mingus, Tony Bennett, Sylvia Syms and Count Basie.
Holiday, whose song “Strange Fruit” exposed the realities of Black life in America in the 1930s, drew both controversy and global acclaim in her decades-long career.
Produced by New Black Films and Reliance Entertainment Productions Documentary, Billie had its world premiere at the 2019 Telluride Film Festival. Greenwich will release the film in theaters across the U.S. later this year.
Concord’s Michele Smith and Sophia Dilley served as executive producers together with Alex Holmes (New Black Films), Emma Cahusac (BBC Music) Deepak Nayar (Wind River, Sense 8, Bend it Like Beckham), Emil Elmer (REP), Will Clarke, Andy Mayson and Mike Runagall (Altitude).
David Blackman and Daniel Inkeles co-exec produced for Polygram Entertainment.
Altitude is handling international sales.
“Documenting the life of an icon is a daunting task, but James rose to the occasion with a mesmerizing tribute that captures the talent and torment of the most influential jazz singer of all time,” Greenwich’s Andy Bohn said in a statement. “Audiences will swoon at the performance footage and be riveted by the intimate revelations in these previously unheard interviews.”