Lee Daniels (“Precious”, “The Butler”, “Empire”) will direct the documentary feature film “The Apollo Theater Film Project,” an authorized history of New York’s famed venue.
“I am honored to be entrusted with the story of this incredible American iconic institution and work with this team,” Daniels said. “I used to go to the Apollo Theater as a kid and never in a million years would I have imagined I would be back to be doing this – it is very special for me.”
The Apollo began operating in 1934 during the Harlem Renaissance and became the most prized venue on the “Chitlin’ Circuit” during the time of racial segregation in the United States. The Apollo was a key launch venue for Ella Fitzgerald, Jimi Hendrix and the Jackson Five. Performers have included Aretha Franklin, Nat King Cole, Gladys Knight, Sammy Davis Jr. and Billie Holiday.
White Horse Pictures’ Nigel Sinclair and Jeanne Elfant Festa are producing the project. Daniels and Jonelle Procope, the president and CEO of the Apollo Theater, are asking members of the public, audience-goers and fans for film footage, home movies, photographs or other memorabilia.
“We are asking members of the community who have been to the Apollo, who may have parents or grandparents or other family members or friends who have done so, to help us find any material — audience footage, photographs or other memories that we can use in our documentary film,” Daniels and Procope said.
The project has established a website (www.apollotheaterdocumentary.com) for anyone who wants to submit. “We will, of course, respect everybody’s ownership of their property,” Daniels and Procope said.