The first trailer for Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me gives us a look at the first major film documentary about the legendary entertainer. Directed by Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Sam Pollard, the docu puts the spotlight on Davis’ personal life and career as he navigated through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th century America.
Davis’ journey to achieve the American Dream was complex, complicated and contradictory. As a black entertainer during a time when the doors of show business rarely opened for people of color, he frequently found himself bracketed by the bigotry of white America and the distaste of black America; he was the most public black figure to embrace Judaism, thereby yoking his identity to another persecuted minority.
Featuring interviews with such luminaries as Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg, Quincy Jones and Kim Novak, with never-before-seen photographs from Davis’ vast personal collection and excerpts from his electric performances in television, film and concert, I’ve Gotta Be Me takes a look at the life and art of a uniquely gifted entertainer whose trajectory blazed across the country from the Depression era through the 1980s.
The film is set to debut next month during the Toronto International Film Festival. I’ve Gotta Be Me is an American Masters Pictures production in co-production with ZDF in collaboration with ARTE, directed by Sam Pollard and produced by Sally Rosenthal and Michael Kantor. The film is edited by Steven Weschler and written by Laurence Maslon. Michael Kantor serves as executive producer.
Take a look at the trailer above.