The Documentary “Sidney,” directed by Academy Award nominee Reginald Hudlin (“Marshall”), focuses on Poitier’s career as an actor, filmmaker, and activist during the Civil Rights Movement. Interviews with Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Halle Berry, Robert Redford, Lenny Kravitz, and Barbra Streisand frame the film, which is produced by Oprah Winfrey and Derik Murray in close collaboration with the Poitier family.
Winfrey’s Harpo Productions and the Network Entertainment produce the Apple Original Film, set to debut September 23 on AppleTV+ and in select theaters. Jesse James Miller wrote the documentary, with Terry Wood, Catherine Cyr, Brian Gersh, Paul Gertz, Reginald Hudlin, Joanna Shimkus Poitier, Anika Poitier, and Barry Krost executive producing.
Poitier says in the trailer, “I left the Bahamas with this sense of myself. And from the time I got off the boat, America began to say to me, ‘You’re not who you think you are.’ There was a habit in Hollywood of utilizing Blacks in the most disrespectful ways. I said, ‘I cannot play that.'”
As Oprah also muses in the trailer, “When you grow up in a community where everything you know is powerful and good, and it’s Black, there’s no concept of race. That defines Sidney Poitier.”
An iconic Hollywood titan, Poitier got his start in the 1940s as part of Harlem’s American Negro Theatre. Poitier made history as one of the first Black actors to appear alongside white actors in leading films. Poitier became the first Black actor to win a Best Actor Academy Award for 1963’s “Lilies of the Field” and went on to star in “In the Heat of the Night” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”
Morgan Freeman wrote, “Sidney was my inspiration, my guiding light, my friend.”
Former President Barack Obama tweeted, “Through his groundbreaking roles and singular talent, Sidney Poitier epitomized dignity and grace, revealing the power of movies to bring us closer together. He also opened doors for a generation of actors. Michelle and I send our love to his family and legion of fans.”
Now, the power of Poitier’s legendary life and legacy is captured in the upcoming documentary.
“Sidney” premieres in select theaters and globally on Apple TV+ September 23.
Check out the trailer below.