Apple Original Films has green lit its Louis Armstrong documentary feature, Black & Blues: The Colorful Ballad of Louis Armstrong with Imagine Documentaries producing the documentary. The documentary, which is produced under Apple’s first-look agreement with Imagine Documentaries, will be directed by Emmy-nominated Sacha Jenkins , and produced by Jenkins, Julie Anderson, Sara Bernstein and Justin Wilkes. Imagine Documentaries Brian Grazer and Ron Howard will exec produce. The project is being produced in association with Universal Music Group’s Polygram Entertainment with Michele Anthony and David Blackman serving as executive producers.
The film offers a definitive look at the master musician’s life and legacy as a founding father of jazz, the first pop star, and a cultural ambassador of the United States. He was loved by millions worldwide but often mischaracterized for not doing enough to support the Civil Rights Movement. In reality, his fight for social justice was fueled by his celebrity and his willingness to break his silence on issues of segregation and patriotism. With the full support of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, the filmmakers have access to a treasure trove of never-before-seen archival materials including hundreds of hours of audio recordings, film footage, photographs, personal diaries and a life’s worth of ephemera for exclusive use in the first significant documentary dedicated entirely to his life.
Howard and Grazer are no strangers to documentaries highlighting the lives of music icons having just worked on the doc Pavarotti, which Howard also directed, which had opera legend Luciana Pavarotti at the center.
Black & Blues: The Colorful Ballad of Louis Armstrong follows the global success of the critically acclaimed Apple/Imagine documentary Dads for Apple Original Films from director Bryce Dallas Howard, the Emmy-winning, Peanuts in Space: Secrets of Apollo 10 directed by Morgan Neville as well as the upcoming docuseries, The Supermodels. Apple will soon premiere the Peanuts 70th Anniversary, Who Are You Charlie Brown? documentary from Imagine Documentaries and WildBrain.
Apple has also been on a roll as of late with critically-acclaimed docs especially those focused on the worlds most famous musicians. The Billie Eilish doc Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, Bruce Springsteen’s Letter To You and the Beastie Boys Story with the Eilish doc breaking several records following its premiere on Apple TV+ in February.