The “One Day In September” helmer will produce the film alongside Simon Chinn (“Searching for Sugar Man”), his partner at Lightbox Media Johnathan Chinn and Lisa Erspamer. Will Clarke, Andy Mayson and Mike Runagall will also serve as executive producers. Altitude Film Sales will be introducing the documentary to buyers at Cannes, with U.K. rights acquired by Altitude Film Distribution.
“The story that is never told about Whitney is just how brilliant she was as an artist; by many measures she had the greatest voice of the last 50 years,” said Macdonald. “She changed the way pop music was sung – bringing it back full circle to its blues and gospel roots. She was also completely unique in being a black pop star who sold in countries where black artists don’t traditionally sell.”
Macdonald will interview Clive Davis, founder and president of Arista Records, CCO of Sony Music Entertainment, who is regarded as bringing the singer to prominence. The director also has never-before-seen-footage of Houston from her early days singing in her Church’s gospel choir, three decades of her music including exclusive demo recordings, rare performances and audio archive.
“Although we won’t shy away from the darker parts of Whitney’s life — her descent into addiction — I want audiences to walk out of the cinema and feel positive about Whitney and her music,” added the director. “I want to reveal a woman that even her most die-hard fans never knew; and a woman those new to her life and music will never forget.”
The Grammy Award-winner died in 2012 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel at the age of 48 where she was found submerged in a bathtub. The cause of death was reported as a drowning and drug use. In the latter half of her life, the star was known for her personal struggles with her tumultuous marriage to Bobby Brown and long-history of drug addiction.
Houston is revered as one of the biggest and most talented selling artists ever, breaking more records than any other female singer in the history of pop music. She made her film debut in 1992’s “The Bodyguard” with Kevin Costner. Her song from the motion picture, “I Will Always Love You,” stayed at No. 1 for 14 weeks. She also had acting roles in “Waiting To Exhale” and “The Preacher’s Wife.”
The documentary is expected to be released in the UK in 2017.