Sunday, August 5, 2012

Spike Lee Unveiling Documentary On Michael Jackson's Bad Album At Venice Film Festival

Spike Lee is set to premiere his new documentary on Michael Jackson's Bad album at the 2012 Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy later this month. The festival is scheduled to begin on August 29th and will run through September 8th. The outspoken filmmaker made the documentary to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Bad album, which was originally released on August 31, 1987. Bad was MJ's follow-up to his landmark game-changing album Thriller. And Bad was a huge success in its own right. To date, the collection has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, and it was the first album to spawn five #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. The pop/soul superstar launched a record-breaking world tour in support of the album on September 12, 1987.

The documentary will focus on MJ's career during the Bad era. It will contain tons of behind-the-scenes footage. Lee has said that the documentary will have footage that no one has ever seen. It will also feature interviews with people who had worked with MJ, including choreographers, musicians, engineers, songwriters, technicians and collaborators. In addition, the documentary will contain interviews with a number of celebrities who have either worked with MJ or were inspired by him in some way. Some of the celebrities who were interviewed for the documentary include Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber, Cee Lo Green, L.A. Reid, Martin Scorsese, Chris Brown and Sheryl Crow, who was a background singer on MJ's Bad World Tour.

Lee had worked with MJ a few times and considered him a friend. The acclaimed filmmaker directed two music videos for MJ's controversial song "They Don't Care About Us," which was released in 1996. The first video was shot in two locations in Brazil, a favela in Rio de Janeiro called Dona Marta and in Salvador da Bahia. The second video for the song was shot in a prison and contained video footage of references to human rights abuses.

Additionally, MJ recorded the song "On The Line" for Lee's film Get on the Bus (1996), which is about the historic Million Man March. Lee also directed the official video for MJ's posthumous single "This Is It."

Since MJ's death in 2009, Lee has held an annual celebration in the pop icon's honor. The tribute extravaganza is held each year in Brooklyn's Prospect Park on MJ's birthday (August 29) and is filled with dancing and wall-to-wall music from MJ, the Jacksons and the J5.

In a recent interview, Lee shared his thoughts about MJ and the upcoming documentary:

"I’m more than just a huge fan of Michael Jackson, and having the chance to actually know him and work with him, I deeply care about his legacy. With this BAD project I was able to uncover just what made this such a huge, important coming of age in his career and unearth compelling stories surrounding the making of the album, the long awaited follow-up to Thriller — the best selling album of all time – the short films and the tour that may have never seen the light of day.”

The Venice Film Festival will honor Lee with its "Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker 2012 Award" on August 31st. According to the festival's organizers, the award is given to "a personality who has brought great innovation to contemporary cinema."  Lee is scheduled to debut his yet-to-be- titled documentary following the ceremony.

Here's a teaser from Spike Lee's upcoming documentary on MJ's Bad Album:

Related blog entry: Michael Jackson's Bad: Out of the Shadow of Thriller

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