The Toronto International Film Festival concluded on Sunday last week, and the Festival featured the World Premiere of a new documentary paying tribute to the life and career of Sammy Davis, Jr. The reviews currently being published are particularly glowing about the quality of the film. See the documentary’s trailer from YouTube on the right.

Titled Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me, the 100 min long film is said to incorporate interview footage with Sammy’s friends and colleagues such as Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg, Quincy Jones, Kim Novak, and Paula Wayne, as well as authors Will Friedwald and Gerald Early.

The film’s director is Sam Pollard, an Academy Award nominated producer, editor and director known for his many documentaries (most recently Two Trains Runnin’), and an extensive collaboration with Spike Lee. Pollard is also a Professor of Film Studies at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts.

This is an extremely exciting project, and the reports are that the film focuses not solely on Sammy’s multidimensional talent, but does an excellent job of placing into proper historical context both the groundbreaking achievements of Sammy’s career, and the many criticisms of him at the time from both black and white communities.

The film is a production of American Masters Pictures, and will presumably air on PBS in the United States as part of the American Masters series, in addition to appearances at other film festivals. Can’t wait to see it!

Official page at Toronto International Film Festival site

Podcast interview with Sam Pollard
With Indie Entertainment Podcast
With Face2Face

Written Q&A with Sam Pollard
With Shoot Publicity Wire
With The Moveable Feast

Online reviews
At The Hollywood Reporter, by Deborah Young
At VICE, by Candice Frederick
At, by Maria Garcia
At Point of View Magazine, by Patrick Mullen
At Shadow and Act, by Aramide A Tinubu
At Indie Entertainment Magazine, by Tristan Olav Torgersen
At, by CipherT


Sammy Davis Jr. I've Gotta Be Me Documentary Poster
Sam Pollard, Director