The man, his trumpet and the music that kept him alive...
Project type: Documentary Feature
Project status: Development
Director: Eliane Henri/Poplife Productions
Cinematographer: Robert Benavides
Creative Advisor: Samuel D. Pollard
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The gift of an instrument to a kid too poor to afford one is the beginning of Roy Hargrove’s remarkable journey from child prodigy to Grammy Award-winning trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and singer. We follow Hargrove as he travels the world spreading joy through his music, all the while battling a secret and deadly genetic disease.
This is the story of Roy Anthony Hargrove: the internationally renowned musical genius and his rise from the Texas ghetto to Grammy award-winning fame. This documentary will showcase the resilience of the human spirit to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles, including poverty, addiction, and a crippling genetic disease, to achieve greatness. Hargrove is an important point in the trajectory of trumpet greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Lee Morgan, Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard and Wynton Marsalis. But he is more than simply a great Jazz musician. He is an integral musical bridge between the 20th and 21st Centuries as the torchbearer of one generation and a pioneer for the other.
We will follow Hargrove’s life from performances with his quintet to late-night jam sessions, to international tours, to off-stage interactions with his band, to his journey with health. We will interview some of Roy’s famous collaborators and mentors such as Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, who discovered him when he was in high school, Erykah Badu who went to high school with him, D’Angelo, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Chucho Valdes, and Questlove.
Jazz history is American history. Roy Hargrove represents a vitally important chapter in the evolution of jazz, not only as the holder of knowledge from the old tradition, but with a groundbreaking career that extends into hip-hop, R&B, and world music as a beacon for the generation that came after him.
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Meet the Filmmakers
Eliane Henri — Director
Eliane Henri, has a long-standing career in Hollywood starting as a Creative Director in the music industry working for her mentor Quincy Jones in the ’90s, moving into PR & Special Events as a Director at Harrison & Shriftman, a multi-national PR firm in the early aughts. In 2003 Eliane founded her own event production company, Poplife Productions, where she produced events and experiences for cultural icons including Forest Whitaker, Naomi Campbell, Mos Def, Stevie Wonder, Jay Z, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, and Yoko Ono. In 2013 Henri segued into documentary production, as a producer on the film Feel Rich: Health is the New Wealth, executive produced by her mentor Quincy Jones. Her unique access to Roy Hargrove, a very eccentric and elusive character, makes her a unique fit as director for this piece.
Robert Benavides — Cinematographer
Robert Benavides is an established cinematographer in both music videos and commercials. Notably, he was the Director of Photography for Beats, Rhymes & Life, the award-winning, critically-acclaimed documentary about legendary hip-hop band Tribe Called Quest.
Samuel D. Pollard — Creative Advisor
Samuel D. Pollard is a producer and editor, known for Acorn and The Firestorm (2017), Eyes on the Prize (1987) and 4 Little Girls (1997).
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