Compiled By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Paramount Network released its 2019 film slate for the award-winning “I Am” documentary franchise.
Produced by filmmaker Derik Murray's Network Entertainment, the three new chapters of the critically-acclaimed franchise will feature Richard Pryor, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Patrick Swayze.
These three iconic figures join the prestigious roster who have been featured in past “I Am” documentaries, including: John F. Kennedy Jr., Martin Luther King Jr., Bruce Lee, Steve McQueen, Evel Knievel, Heath Ledger, Paul Walker, Sam Kinison, and Chris Farley.
“I Am Richard Pryor,” the first of the three 2019 installments, will make its world premiere at South by Southwest Film Festival on March 12, and will debut on the Paramount Network March 15 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Premiere dates for the Jackie O and Patrick Swayze documentaries will be forthcoming.
“I Am Richard Pryor” explores and celebrates the life and career of the iconic comedian who lifted himself out of poverty to achieve worldwide success. From his first comedy album until his death of a heart attack in 2005, the revolutionary stand-up comedian dispensed what critics regarded as the most poignant and penetrating comedic view of African-American life ever afforded to the U.S. at large.
Volatile yet vulnerable, crass but sensitive, streetwise and cocky, Pryor did not simply tell stories, he brought them to life and was considered a trailblazer for generations of comics to come.
The film explores his unusually personal art that was a window into a vulnerable soul, as well as the endless struggle to extend dignity and equality to all.
“I Am Richard Pryor” includes exclusive interviews with comedians, filmmakers, family, and friends such as Sandra Bernhard, Ron De Blasio, Dr. Todd Boyd, Michael Epps, Tiffany Haddish, Henry Jaglom, Howie Mandel, Thom Mount, Ishmael Reed, Scott Saul, Michael Schultz, Greg Tate, Lily Tomlin, Rocco Urbisci, Jimmie Walker, and Jennifer Pryor, who is also featured, and during a moving and poignant moment in the documentary, uniquely honors the life of her husband.
"We are thrilled to bring the stories of these three incredible icons to Paramount Network through the “I Am franchise," said Keith Cox, President, Development and Production, Paramount Network and TV Land. "It's truly an honor to pay homage to this group of extraordinary people through these inspiring films. We couldn't be more excited with their inclusion on our 2019 documentary slate."
"We are committed to delivering an authentic and entertaining portrayal of each of the icons we are honored to portray in our ongoing “I Am” series of documentary features. Every one of our iconic subjects has made their personal mark on history, and along the way has captured the hearts and minds of audiences and fans around the world," said Derik Murray, Network Entertainment's Founder/Producer. "I Am Richard Pryor” was made possible by Jennifer Pryor's resolute conviction to tell Richard's story with a foundation of truth and respect for his massive legacy. Alongside Jennifer's revealing interview, we have assembled a brilliant cast that blows open the door on a complex and gifted artist whose profound impact lives on."
The documentary, directed by Jesse James Miller, is the latest from Network Entertainment's award-winning filmmaker Derik Murray, who has previously produced films on epochal figures such as John F. Kennedy Jr., Martin Luther King Jr., Heath Ledger, Bruce Lee, Paul Walker, and Chris Farley.
“I Am Richard Pryor” is Executive Produced by Paul Gertz, Kent Wingerak, and Richard Pryor's widow, Jennifer Pryor. Paramount Network's Jaimee Kosanke also serves as Executive Producer.
ABOUT “I AM” SERIES:
The original documentary series “I Am” is an inside look at the lives of extraordinary individuals, told by the people who knew them best. The award-winning franchise from filmmaker Derik Murray's Network Entertainment, which began in 2012 with “I Am Bruce Lee,” features documentaries that provide biographical portraits of iconic figures including John F. Kennedy Jr., Martin Luther King Jr., Steve McQueen, Evel Knievel, Sam Kinison, Paul Walker, Chris Farley, and Heath Ledger, which recently received two Realscreen awards.
ABOUT NETWORK ENTERTAINMENT:
Network Entertainment, founded and headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, produces premium content for global audiences. Network's documentaries and docu-series showcase the lives of the world's most inspiring cultural icons and their enduring legacy, featuring a compelling lineup of icons from the worlds of Music, Movies, Comedy, Sports, Politics and Business. The Network premium brand of programming features outstanding casts and highly cinematic, richly crafted storytelling.
Network's productions are consistently embraced by both audiences and critics alike, garnering awards, record ratings and unparalleled media coverage.
Network's broadcast and distribution partners include: AHC, AMC, Discovery Channel, CBC, CMT, CTV, Entertainment One, EPIX, FremantleMedia, HBO Canada, History Channel, iTunes, Lionsgate, National Geographic, Paramount Network, Spike, Sundance TV, Thunderbird, TMN, Virgil Entertainment, and YouTube Premium.
The Company's work has been recognized by the Academy Awards, the Emmys, Realscreen Awards, the Gemini Awards, the LEOs, the Los Angeles Film Festival, Washington D.C. Silver Docs, Seattle International Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival, Houston International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, Banff Television Festival, and the International Film and Television Festival of New York.
ABOUT PARAMOUNT NETWORK:
Paramount Network is a premium entertainment destination that pushes the limits of story-telling with bold original scripted and non-scripted series. Inspired by over a century of cinema, Paramount Network is where today's brightest stars bring the experience of the big screen to every screen with stories that are immersive, inclusive, and deeply personal. For more information, visit www.ParamountNetwork.com.
Editor’s Note: Information and used in this report obtained from the Paramount Network. Photo Credit: Rastar Kobal.