2019 Tribeca Film Fest to open with world premiere of ‘The Apollo’

LAPACAZO SANDOVAL | 4/18/2019, 3:27 p.m.
The film will debut at the iconic theater itself Wednesday, April 24, 2019, and later this year on HBO.

Here’s the thing, I could not be happier for Academy Award winning director Roger Ross Williams who has made it clear for anyone with ears and who is willing to listen that he’s helping to open doors inside the film industry for “people that look like me” and we are all the luckier for it.

His artistic skill has been poured into his newest project, an HBO documentary film “The Apollo” which will open the Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, 18th edition.

The film will debut at the iconic theater itself Wednesday, April 24, 2019, and later this year on HBO.

“The Apollo” celebrates the historic New York City cultural landmark where musical legends were discovered and features interviews with Pharrell Williams, Jamie Foxx, Patti LaBelle, Ta-Nehisi Coates and more

Creatively Williams is just getting started despite the fact that he’s won an Academy and Emmy award.

“The Apollo” chronicles the unique history and contemporary legacy of the New York City landmark, the Apollo Theater.

The feature-length documentary weaves together archival footage, music, comedy and dance performances, and behind-the-scenes verité with the team that makes the theater run. The Apollo features interviews with artists including Patti LaBelle, Pharrell Williams, Smokey Robinson and Jamie Foxx. The documentary is produced by Lisa Cortés, Nigel Sinclair’s White Horse Pictures, and Williams. The 2019 Tribeca Film Festival runs April 24-May 5.

The Apollo Theater sits at the crossroads of race, class and culture. The documentary covers the rich history of the storied performance space over its 85 years and follows a new production of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me” as it comes to the theater’s grand stage. The creation of this vibrant multi-media stage show frames the way in which “The Apollo” explores the current struggle of Black lives in America, the role that art plays in that struggle and the broad range of African-American achievement that the Apollo Theater represents.

The Apollo Theater is internationally renowned for having influenced American and pop culture more than any other entertainment venue. The space has created opportunities for new talent to be seen and has served as a launchpad for a myriad of artists including Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, Luther Vandross, Dave Chappelle, Lauryn Hill, Jimi Hendrix and more.

“We’re excited to finally be going uptown to play the Apollo,” said Jane Rosenthal, co-founder and CEO of the Tribeca Film Festival. “The Apollo gives audiences an inside look at the major role this institution has played for the past 85 years. It’s seen the emergence of everything from Jazz to R&B to Soul and Gospel—all quintessential American music genres, and this is the time to remind people of our nation’s rich history.”

“‘The Apollo is about so much more than just music, it’s about how we used music and art to lift ourselves out of oppression,” commented Williams. “The story of the Apollo is the story of the evolution of Black American identity and how it grew to become the defining cultural movement of our time. I was fortunate to make my first film with HBO and I am thrilled to be coming back home with ‘The Apollo.’ Premiering at The Tribeca Film Festival, at the Apollo Theater in Harlem is a dream come true.”

“The Apollo Theater is a symbol of the creative spirit of New York and beyond, and I’m very happy that we’re kicking off our 18th festival celebrating it with this documentary from Roger Ross Williams,” said Tribeca co-founder Robert De Niro.

The Apollo will have additional screenings during the Festival. Passes and packages to attend the Festival go on sale on Feb. 19, 2019.

The 2019 Tribeca Film Festival will announce its feature film slate March 5.