This year’s Tribeca Film Festival has announced today that it will open its 16th edition with the world premiere of the feature-length documentary “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives” at Radio City Music Hall on Wednesday, April 19. The premiere will be followed by a special concert that features performances by superstars including Aretha Franklin; Jennifer Hudson; Earth, Wind & Fire and more.
Directed by Chris Perkel, the film is based on Davis’ 2013 bestselling autobiography and chronicles the historic influence of the so-called “Man with the Golden Ears,” tracking his humble beginnings all the way through his dominance in the often cutthroat world of music production and talent discovery.
“Directing this film provided a wonderful challenge because Clive Davis stands at the center of a culture-defining array of talent that has shaped the last half century of contemporary music. His is an inspiring story that’s sure to leave you with a smile on your face, a tug at your heart and a playlist of hits forever stuck in your head,” commented director Perkel.
Billed as “an inspiring story of courage, resilience, talent, and an unwavering commitment to excellence,” the film follows Davis, “a child of early 20th century working-class Brooklyn who lost both parents while a teenager,” through his educational endeavors (including full academic scholarships to NYU and Harvard Law School) to his short stint as a lawyer to the “twist of fate” that put him at the top of Columbia Records when he was still in his thirties.
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Davis’ ability to spot talent — including such icons as Janis Joplin, Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, Santana and Aerosmith — helped him to rise to the top of his industry and stay there for many years.
“’Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives’ is a fascinating exploration of his remarkable story and the impact that a great producer can have on artists and music,” said Jane Rosenthal, Co-Founder and Executive Chair of the Tribeca Film Festival of the pick. “We are excited to have this powerful film premiere on our opening night.”
In recent years, Tribeca has often let its opening night event serve as a combination of film, music and celebration, and previous opening night events have also paired music-centric documentaries with impressive musical events. In 2014, “Nas: Time is Illmatic” opened the festival, followed by a performance by the rapper, and in 2013, the doc “Mistaken for Strangers” kicked off the fest, followed by a performance by the band The National, the subject of the film.
The film is produced by Michael Bernstein of Scott Free Productions, with Ridley Scott and Mary Lisio executive producing alongside IM Global’s Stuart Ford, David Schulhof, and Deborah Zipser.
This year’s Tribeca Film Festival will take place April 19 – 30. The festival will announce its feature film slate at the beginning of March.