The film may have had its world premiere at the Cannes film festival, but on Thursday (June 25) ‘AMY’ – the Asif Kapadia helmed biopic about the tragic singer songwriter Amy Winehouse – had its North American premiere at the ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood.
The film follows Amy through home videos, news reports and television performances from her childhood through to her death in 2011. It is narrated by not only her own voice, but also her friends, family and colleagues.
Video Curtesy of A24
Speaking at the premiere, Kapadia explained “It started off really with a series of conversations where I just started recording just the audio with the people around Amy to do my research. I spoke to in the end over 100 people and one by one as I earned their trust and they started to open up about Amy and their relationship with Amy, then they started saying ‘Well, I have these photographs, I have these videos, I have these answer phone messages and the visual side came secondary.”
Although the film has received criticism from Amy’s father Mitch, Kapadia hopes that cinema-goers will appreciate the movie, saying “I hope people will see the real Amy as all her friends called her, the young Amy, really funny, really intelligent, bright-eyed, really beautiful and happy, amazingly creative and then also as the story gets darker I hope people think about what happened, how it happened and maybe a little bit about how I think everyone was slightly complicit with what happened.”
Producer James Gay-Rees saw the production as a cathartic experience. “It’s great to part of the process whereby hopefully we’re re-educating people about her because she really deserves the credit that we’re trying to give with her in the movie,” he said, “because she was amazing and people like that don’t come along very often and when they do, you’ve got to cherish them but unfortunately we didn’t so it’s great to go back and set the record straight a little bit.”
Various celebrities attended the Los Angeles launch including Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne and Rumer Willis. Also there was Amy’s former manager Nick Shymansky, who appears as a central character in the film.
When asked about Amy and her music, he replied “She was able to sing jazz, sing R’n’B and have a killer voice but she also had a really modern perspective on stuff and lyrically she was as witty and as sharp as the best hip hop rappers in terms of her writing and her lyrical ability.”
Producer Don Was also paid homage to the Camden singer songwriter saying “I think there are cycles in music where you go from really manufactured music to very genuine human music and I think she really heralded a shift back to some humanity.”
‘AMY’ goes on release in the UK, Ireland and the US on July 3.
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