2015 is turning out to be quite the year for documentary portraits of female musicians. “Amy,” Asif Kapadia’s Amy Winehouse doc, is the year’s second biggest nonfiction film so far, while competing for awards consideration will be Barbara Koppel’s “Miss Sharon Jones!,” Liz Garbus’ “What Happened, Miss Simone?” (about Nina Simone), Jessica Edwards’ “Mavis” (about Mavis Staples) and possibly Sydney Pollack’s “Amazing Grace,” the Aretha Franklin concert film that is currently caught up legal tangles.
Now here’s one more: Oscar-nominated director Amy Berg’s “Janis: Little Girl Blue,” about rock singer (wailer?) Janis Joplin. News came earlier this week that the doc has found distribution via FilmRise and that it’ll be released theatrically on November 27. The film will also air on PBS’s “American Masters” next year.
Berg helmed the documentaries “Deliver Us From Evil,” “West of Memphis,” “An Open Secret” and “Prophet’s Prey,” as well as the Nicole Holofcener-penned crime mystery “Every Secret Thing.”
“Her searing portrait of Janis Joplin cements Amy as one of the premiere documentarians of all time,” commented FilmRise CEO Danny Fisher. “The film is not only a study on this much-adored but deeply-troubled singer, but also a moving time capsule of the 1960s as well as a modern reflection on celebrity and culture. We are honored to be releasing this film and know that audiences will connect with Janis’ story.”
“Janis Joplin, the artist and the woman, was a major figure in the counterculture movement. She also played an important role for women as a ground breaker and the first woman of rock and roll,” added filmmaker Amy Berg.
Here’s the PR synopsis for “Janis: Little Girl Blue”:
Janis Joplin is one of the most revered singers of all time, a tragic and misunderstood figure who thrilled millions of listeners and blazed new creative trails before her untimely death in 1970 at age 27. “Janis: Little Girl Blue” examines her story in-depth for the first time on film, presenting an insightful look at this complicated, driven, often beleaguered artist with rare personal and performance footage and interviews with friends and family. The Joplin family provided unfettered access to their vaults for the first time, through which Berg unearthed previously unreleased letters, photos, audio and footage of Joplin. The singer’s own words tell much of her story through a series of letters she wrote to her parents over the years, never before seen by the public (and read by Southern-born indie rock star/actor Chan Marshall, also known as Cat Power). Joplin was a powerhouse when she sang, and her surprising rise and sudden demise changed music forever.