CNN Films has acquired the domestic rights to the music documentary about Dionne Warwick, “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over,” which first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year.
Dave Wooley produced, directed and wrote the film about the “I Say a Little Prayer” singer, and David Heilbroner also directed.
“Don’t Make Me Over,” which is named for Warwick’s first debut single, will be among the first to premiere on the upcoming streaming platform CNN+, which is launching later this spring.
Warwick became the first solo African American female artist to win a Grammy in contemporary vocal performance for 1968’s “Do You Know The Way To San Jose.” And in the film, Warwick narrates some of her own archival footage and visits or describes other locations that have been key to her life and career, from East Orange, NJ to the Apollo Theater in Harlem.
The documentary also includes interviews with her two sons Damon and David Elliott, Warwick’s aunt, Cissy Houston, and long-time collaborators, Burt Bacharach and Clive Davis. It also includes an archival interview from Whitney Houston reflecting upon her appreciation for her cousin’s talent and mentorship. The filmmakers further sit down with Snoop Dogg, Gloria Estefan, Berry Gordy, Quincy Jones, Alicia Keys, Gladys Knight, Olivia Newton-John, Smokey Robinson, Carlos Santana, Valerie Simpson and Stevie Wonder, who all discuss what Warwick has meant to the industry and the wider culture.
Check out TheWrap’s review of the film out of Toronto here.
“There have been many words to describe Dionne Warwick, however, for me, it comes down to one word: ‘genius,’” Wooley said. “Her extraordinary voice is a gift that she uses for her art, and always also as an instrument for creating positive change, compassion, and social justice, wherever she is.”
“Dionne Warwick is legendary not only because of her tremendous musicality, but also because she has had an immense impact on American and global culture,” Courtney Sexton, senior vice president for CNN Films, said. “From exploring her contributions to racial justice, compassion for the HIV/AIDS community, and her work to expand LGBTQ+ equality, the filmmakers have created a beautiful film that recognizes her legacy in full.”
The deal for “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over” was negotiated by Stacey Wolf, senior vice president of business affairs for CNN Worldwide, on behalf of CNN Films and CNN+. Endeavor Content and Mister Smith brokered the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.
Mister Smith will launch international sales at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival, Berlinale European Film Market, this week.