Good news for a documentary feature this blog has been following since its Kickstarter campaign in 2012, when we first profiled it.
Directed by their grandson Muta’Ali Muhammad, and titled “Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee,” the “documentary style film about Love, art and activism” tells the life and love story of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, for the first time, incorporating candid and revealing conversations and much more.
It’s a film that’s been touring the film festival circuit for about a year now, and, announced this afternoon, many more will get to see it, as Centric TV picked up the documentary and slotted it for a Sunday, January 17, 2016, 3pm premiere (that’s this afternoon). It’s a really odd time of the day to premiere a film on any network. Typically, this would a Sunday primetime event, not in the middle of the afternoon. But I suppose you could DVR it if you’re not going to home at that time, and watch it later.
The film will also be released on DVD and VOD platforms like iTunes, Amazon and Google Play, on February 1, making it even more widely accessible for those without Centric, the cable TV channel that’s part of the BET/Viacom family.
Full details via press release below, followed by a trailer for the film.
For more than a half century, audiences have been
mesmerized by the love story between Hollywood legends Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee. Now, their
grandson Muta’Ali unearths the foundation of this unbreakable bond in the documentary “Life’s
Essentials with Ruby Dee,” which premieres on Centric TV Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 3 pm. Through intimate conversations with the award-winning actress, playwright and activist,
Muta’Ali not only discovers intimate details about his grandparents’ relationship, but also
questions his ability to carry on the very dynasty that gave him life. In the film, the director
breaks the wall between himself and his subject to ask heartfelt questions of his grandmother.
“How do you stay faithful? And if I can’t see myself doing that, how can I honestly get married
knowing that I could eventually break the heart of the woman I love?”
“I can’t say I didn’t do anything to make Ossie unhappy…” Ms. Dee states as she carefully
reveals the core commitment made between her and Mr. Davis. Her answer only sparked more
questions for Muta’Ali, provoking him to dig deeper into the family archives and the history of
He chronicles their remarkable journey as trailblazers in the arts community and activists in the
Civil Rights Movement. Muta’Ali also shares exclusive video footage, family photos and
memorabilia. In addition, a host of celebrity friends like Alan Alda, Angela Bassett, Harry
Belafonte, Danny Glover, Hill Harper, Samuel Jackson, Spike Lee, S. Epatha Merkerson,
Phylicia Rashad, Glynn Turman, Dr. Cornel West, Sonia Sanchez and Malik Yoba share
eyewitness accounts of this American legacy.
Muta’Ali brilliantly captures his grandmother’s perspective about life’s essentials: love, marriage,
commitment, conscious art and activism. The film preserves the wisdom of Ossie Davis & Ruby
Dee for many longing to create a tradition of rich living that impacts today’s society.
In honor of Black History Month, the film will also be digitally released February 1st via iTunes,
Amazon and Google Play. “Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee” won “Best Documentary” and
“Audience Choice Award” at the 2014 BronzeLens Film Festival. The Hollywood Reporter said,
“’Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee’ ultimately emerges as a deeply impassioned, thoughtful and
loving portrait that brings a much deserved spotlight to these vitally important artists who
contributed so much to American culture and politics.”