Watch Official Trailer For Upcoming Billie Holiday Biopic

Watch Official Trailer For Upcoming Billie Holiday Biopic

billie holiday
Billie Holiday, 1947. Photo by William Gottlieb/Redferns.

In the 1930s, Billie Holiday revolutionised the jazz genre with her fluid, impassioned improvisation; showing off her wit and sensuality with unique emotional depth for the times. A new documentary will dive into the highs and lows that shaped her albeit short, but overwhelmingly influential career. 

The film, simply called Billie, is compiled from the accounts of people who knew her personally, based on some 200-plus hours of unreleased interviews about Billie Holiday conducted by Lipnack Kuehl, who was working on a biography of the singer during the 60s. Kuehl sadly passed away in 1979 before completing the project. With these interviews as a centre point, the documentary features an abundance of key figures in Holiday’s life to tell the story of her rise to become one of the most iconic figures in the history of jazz. 

The official trailer for Billie is set to her very topical 1939 protest song “Strange Fruit” and highlights the newly coloured and restored archival footage from the era. Watch below. 

Billie | Official Trailer

Holiday’s life was marked by struggles with abuse, poverty, racism, drug issues, that contributed to her early death in 1959 at the age of 44, after a prolonged battle with cirrhosis. But the upcoming documentary focuses on the highlights the strength and “personal agency” that saw Holiday leave such an indelible mark on music, against such odds. 

As Variety reports, director James Erskine said  in a statement, it was important not to portray Holliday as “just a victim” and to ensure that “viewers felt her presence all the way throughout it.”

Saying it "was essential to me was to make sure there was enough room in the film to sit back and admire her power, her genius, and also to ensure the audience grasped that Billie’s story was told through the songs she sang."

Tony Bennet is among the featured interviews in Billie – due out November 13th

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