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Rashida Jones Reveals What It Was Like to Make ‘Quincy,’ the Netflix Documentary About Her Dad

The film recently played as part of the IDA screening series.

Quincy Jones and Rashida Jones'Quincy' premiere, Arrivals, Toronto International Film Festival, Canada - 09 Sep 2018

Quincy Jones and Rashida Jones at the ‘Quincy’ premiere

Michael Hurcomb/REX/Shutterstock

Rashida Jones and her “Quincy” co-director Alan Hicks had unprecedented access to their documentary subject (and Rashida’s dad), Quincy Jones, but she said that he’s refreshingly unguarded no matter who you are.

“I think that’s he beauty of him. Whether you’re family or a fan…he gives you access,” Rashida told the audience at a Q&A following a screening of their Netflix film at the International Documentary Association’s annual screening series in Los Angeles.

Hicks and Jones shot 800 hours of footage over a period of nearly four years, but just as valuable as that intimate footage is the discovery of never-before-seen interviews and film from the artist’s own collection.

“We were working in Quincy’s archive in his basement and it took us nearly a year to get through the whole archive,” said Hicks, who met the elder Jones when he produced Hicks’ first documentary “Keep On Keepin’ On.” After Rashida and Hicks finished digitizing VHS tapes and scanning photos, they told Quincy they were done.

“We said, ‘Hey, we finished the archives,’ and he said, ‘That’s beautiful. Have you seen the vault?’ And then we went to the vault and it’s in freezing temperatures and he says, ‘That’s where you’re gonna find all the good shit.'”

Quincy was right. The vault contained Super 8 footage of his childhood and conversations with Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra.

“There’s all these things that people haven’t heard before, and he hadn’t heard before,” Hicks said. “He’s too busy to sit down and listen to the raw tapes of interviews through his career.”

Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones Archive

The film tells the story of his life from growing up in Chicago to the present day, and follows him as he organizes a concert for the opening of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Quincy tells his own story through archival footage from the vault, audio from his 2001 autobiography audiobook, and interviews from different periods.

“The way that he is able to confidently tell those hard truths about himself all the way through is something I noticed about him while filming for so many years,” Hicks said.

According to Jones, her father didn’t have any requests for the film — and didn’t even see it until it was finished.

“He loved it. He’s watched it several times now, but the first time he watched it he laughed, he cried, he participated like an audience member,” she said.

Said Hicks, “Our main focus was for people to be able to feel what it’s like to hang out with Quincy.”

“Quincy” is available to stream on Netflix, and its soundtrack — there were 725 contracts involved to secure the music for the film — is available to stream on Spotify.

The IDA Documentary Screening Series brings some of the year’s most acclaimed documentary films to the IDA community and members of industry guilds and organizations. Films selected for the Series receive exclusive access to an audience of tastemakers and doc lovers during the important Awards campaigning season from September through November. For more information about the series, and a complete schedule, visit IDA.

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