London (April 24, 2013) – Focus Features International (FFI) will handle worldwide sales on director Asif Kapadia’s (Senna, The Warrior) untitled documentary on five-time Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse. Using unseen archive footage, the film will show through her own words, the genius in Amy’s art and the moving and tragic story of this young woman from London.
James Gay-Rees (Senna, Exit Through the Gift Shop) will produce through Playmaker Films, Gay-Rees and Kapadia’s new production entity, and the film will be co-produced by Universal Music. Gay-Rees and Kapadia collaborated on their acclaimed documentary Senna, which won numerous awards including two BAFTA Awards for Best Documentary and Editing in 2012. Focus Features International will introduce the project to buyers in Cannes.
Kapadia is known for his visually stunning portraits which focus on exploring the lives of characters living under extraordinary circumstances. In this film he describes the talent and world of Winehouse who rose to international fame with her second album Back to Black, which has sold over 12 million copies worldwide since its release in 2006. The English artist died tragically in 2011 of accidental alcohol poisoning, meaning her name will always be associated with other illustrious musicians who lost their lives prematurely at the age of 27.
“This is an incredibly modern, emotional and relevant film that has the power to capture the zeitgeist and shine a light on the world we live in, in a way that very few films can,” said director Asif Kapadia and producer James Gay-Rees. “Amy was a once-in-a-generation talent who captured everyone’s attention; she wrote and sung from the heart and everyone fell under her spell. But tragically Amy seemed to fall apart under the relentless media attention, her troubled relationships, her global success and precarious lifestyle. As a society we celebrated her huge success but then we were quick to judge her failings when it suited us.”
Alison Thompson, co-president of Focus Features International said: “Asif and James have the remarkable ability to bring a moving and thought-provoking story to life, as evidenced by Senna. We look forward to seeing their vision of Amy Winehouse.”
The FFI slate also includes the true-life dramatic thriller Kill the Messenger , to be directed by Michael Cuesta and star Jeremy Renner; seven-time Academy Award®-nominated writer/director Mike Leigh’s new film, starring Timothy Spall as the painter J.M.W. Turner; Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, starring Cate Blanchett and Alex Baldwin; the psychological thriller Oculus, directed by Mike Flanagan; Closed Circuit, the suspense thriller directed by John Crowley and starring Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall; and Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Ruairi Robinson’s thriller The Last Days on Mars starring Liev Schreiber, Olivia Williams, and Romola Garai, which is world-premiering at the 2013 Cannes International Film Festival in Directors’ Fortnight.