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Billie (15*) + ScreenTalk

EFG London Jazz Festival 2020

a woman singing and a man sitting next to her playing a guitar

A newly-unearthed treasure trove of audio interviews about Billie Holiday form the basis of this new documentary profile of the great jazz singer.

Eschewing entirely the standard talking-heads presentation, this new documentary combines archive and performance footage and stills with a mosaic of voices, audio testimony from those who met or knew Billie Holiday, conducted in the 1970s for a planned biography. The book was scotched after the author’s early death; the tapes have not been heard, until now.

The outlines of Holiday’s life are well known, but the story is brought vividly to life through these first-hand accounts from her friends, relatives, fellow musicians (including Count Basie and Sylvia Sims), and even the arresting officer on one of her drug busts, and the pimp who pressed her into prostitution as a young girl.

We are delighted to be joined after the screening for a ScreenTalk with the film’s director James Erskine and co-producer Shianne Brown.

UK 2019 Dir James Erskine 98 min Digital presentation


We’ve brought in measures to keep you safe, in line with government guidelines. 

Under new guidelines, we’ve fewer available seats in our cinema and fewer screenings so we can clean between shows. You can only sit in the same seating cluster as someone from your own household (or support bubble) and we ask you to not swap seats so we can maintain a safe distance between you and other groups.

Tickets must be booked online in advance.

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Barbican Theatre