Billie Holiday documentary set for UK cinema release next month

'Billie' is based around 200 hours of never-before-heard interviews

Billie, a new documentary about the life of Billie Holiday, is set to be released in UK cinema’s next month.

The film, which originally premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in September 2019, is directed by James Erksine and will screen at the London Jazz Festival in November. It will then go on general release in the UK on November 13 in select cinemas.

The film documents the legendary jazz singer’s life through 200 hours of never-before-heard interviews with journalist Linda Lipnack Kuehl, with subjects such as Tony Bennett, Charles Mingus, Sylvia Syms and Count Basie, as well as others who knew her well.


Billie also looks at Holiday’s character in the face of adversity, while also touching upon racism, social justice and gender equality.

“What was essential to me was to make sure there was enough room in the film to sit back and admire her power, her genius, and also to ensure the audience grasped that Billie’s story was told through the songs she sang,” Erskine previously explained.

“Taking the narrative of Billie, blending it with a coherent music structure and then tracing out her life and her changing image was the essence of the film.”

As well as Billie, a new biopic about the singer called The United States Vs. Billie Holiday is set to be released on February 21, 2021.


The film stars singer-songwriter Andra Day as Holiday, while the project has been conceived by a number of African-American creatives, including Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks writing the screenplay and Lee Daniels directing.

“With the world’s eyes forced to look at the centuries-old oppression of Black people, I hope The United States Vs. Billie Holiday will add to this important conversation by shining a light on systemic racism and social injustice,” Daniels said previously.