Why Oprah Couldn’t Fund Maya Angelou Documentary ‘Still I Rise’ (Video)

Sundance 2016: Filmmakers behind Angelou film explain why Winfrey could not support crowdfunded doc

It would seem easy to fund a documentary about Pulitzer Prize winner and activist Maya Angelou, given her devout and deep-pocketed fans like Oprah Winfrey.

Yet filmmakers Rita Coburn Whack and Bob Hercules had an ethical dilemma, they told TheWrap at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, that forbade them from approaching Oprah — a longtime flag-bearer for Angelou’s writing and messages of social justice.

While the doc was crowdfunded, the special will air as part of PBS’ “American Masters” series, which must abide by the rules of public television.

“We’re public TV … back in the day, up until now, there is a journalistic integrity that the people that are in your film can’t fund it,” said Coburn Whack, subsequently revealing Winfrey as an onscreen participant.

“Even my best friends would say the same thing,” Hercules added. “Just get Oprah to fund it.”

Check out TheWrap’s complete coverage of Sundance 2016.

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