Watch ‘Sidney’ Trailer, Documentary On Late Film Legend Sidney Poitier Produced by Oprah Winfrey
Matthew Carey | Deadline
Apple TV+ has dropped a trailer for Sidney, the Oprah Winfrey-produced documentary on screen giant Sidney Poitier.
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Reginald Hudlin directed the documentary, which debuts in theaters and on Apple TV+ on September 23. It examines one of the most important figures in the history of cinema, celebrating Poitier’s “legacy as an iconic actor, filmmaker and activist at the center of Hollywood and the Civil Rights Movement.”
Oprah appears in the documentary, along with a host of luminaries including Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Halle Berry, Morgan Freeman, and Civil Rights Movement leader Andrew Young.
“We’re hanging together by a few cultural threads,” notes Young, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. “And Sidney Poitier is one of those cultural threads.”
Poitier, who died in January of this year at the age of 94, spent his early years in the Bahamas, away from the grip of ugly racism endemic to the U.S. As Oprah observes in the trailer, “When you grow up in a community where everything you know is powerful and good and it’s Black, there’s no concept of race. That defines Sidney Poitier.”
He had been born in Miami, and returned there at age 15, moving a year later to New York where he would join the American Negro Theatre.
“I left the Bahamas with this sense of myself,” Poitier says in an interview in the documentary. “And from the time I got off the boat, America began to say to me, ‘You’re not who you think you are.’ There was a habit in Hollywood of utilizing Blacks in the most disrespectful ways. I said, ‘I cannot play that.’”
Instead, he brought strength and towering dignity to roles in era-defining motion pictures including The Blackboard Jungle (1955), The Defiant Ones (1958), A Raisin in the Sun (1961), Lilies of the Field (1963), and three major films in 1967 alone: To Sir, with Love, In the Heat of the Night, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Beginning with Buck and the Preacher in 1972, he became a noted director, expanding opportunities for Black talent on screen and behind the scenes.
He made significant contributions to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, alongside friend Harry Belafonte. An obituary in Vanity Fair called Poitier “the Martin Luther King Jr. of the movies.”
Sidney was made “in close collaboration with the Poitier family,” according to a release. The film is produced by Oprah, and hails from her company, Harpo Productions, and Network Entertainment. Hudlin (House Party, Marshall, producer of Django Unchained), directs; the writer is Jesse James Miller. Derik Murray also serves as producer. Terry Wood, Catherine Cyr, Brian Gersh, Paul Gertz, Reginald Hudlin, Joanna Shimkus Poitier, Anika Poitier and Barry Krost executive produce.
Watch the trailer above.