Lee Daniels will direct the documentary feature film "The Apollo Theater Film Project" – an authorized history of New York’s famed Apollo Theater – it was announced today by White Horse Pictures’ Nigel Sinclair and Jeanne Elfant Festa.
The film will tell the story of the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. One of the most famous theaters in the world and a driving force in shaping America’s music and cultural landscape, the Apollo’s impact on the local Harlem community and the legendary musicians who performed at the historic venue is immeasurable.
Daniels and Jonelle Procope, President and CEO the Apollo Theater, are jointly making an appeal to members of the public, audience-goers, and fans for film footage, home movies, photographs or other memorabilia that may have been accumulated by members of the community in the course of its more than 80 years of live performances.
Said Daniels and Procope, “We are asking members of the community who have been to the Apollo, who may have parents or grandparents or other family members or friends who have done so, to help us find any material – audience footage, photographs, or other memories that we can use in our documentary film. We have established a website for anyone who wants to submit. We will, of course, respect everybody’s ownership of their property.”
With a roster of artists who have performed at the Apollo Theater, Universal Music Group will curate the music for the documentary, which is being co-written by Cassidy Hartmann of White Horse Pictures, Mark Monroe and Shola Lynch ("Free Angela and All Political Prisoners").
Added Daniels, “I am honored to be entrusted with the story of this incredible American iconic institution and work with this team. I used to go to The Apollo Theater as a kid and never in a million years would I have imagined I would be back to be doing this – it is very special for me.”
“We are all honored to be entrusted with this triumphant American story, and so fortunate that Lee Daniels has committed to lead the team. The Apollo has exerted such unprecedented influence and power on American culture, from its beginnings in 1934 to its towering presence in the 21st century. It is a story that will amaze,” said Nigel Sinclair.
"As a New Yorker, I have always been in awe of the Apollo Theater. To see a show there is to participate in a glorious, righteous and magical history, and carry it forward into the present. Impact Partners is thrilled to be partnering with Lee Daniels, who is such an extraordinary artist, and Nigel Sinclair, one of the great producers of documentaries working today," said Dan Cogan.
The project is produced by Nigel Sinclair and Jeanne Elfant Festa, White Horse Pictures’ Director of Features and Head of Documentaries, under her Piper Cub Productions banner.
Long-established documentary financing company Impact Partners, the Europe-based STUDIOCANAL and Universal Music Group are financing the project along with The Chicago Media Project.
Impact’s Dan Cogan and Geralyn Dreyfous, and STUDIOCANAL’s Chairman and CEO Didier Lupfer and EVP of International Production and Acquisitions Ron Halpern are serving as executive producers.
The project will be presented by the Apollo Theater and Bert Marcus Productions.
Watch Daniels and Procope make the announcement and appeal below: