*Filmmaker Sacha Jenkins this week attended the screening of his documentary “Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James” at the Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival ahead of its premiere on Showtime on Friday, Sept. 3.
“Bitchin'” follows the legendary funkster’s extraordinary and tumultuous life, times and musical legacy. Showtime says. It’s “an intimate yet propulsive look at Rick James, one of rock, funk and R&B’s most legendary and often underappreciated figures.
Featuring rare footage of James’ incredible live shows, never-before-seen home video, original interviews with legendary artists, collaborators and friends, and a treasure trove of recorded interviews with James (who died in 2004), the documentary presents a full picture of James’ dramatic rise and fall, focusing in on the “Punk-Funk” music he left behind.
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Best remembered as the creator of hits such as “Superfreak” “Give It To Me Baby” and “Mary Jane,” Rick James (born James Ambrose Johnson) emerged from the rust belt city of Buffalo, NY and through sheer determination, grit and talent, steadily rose through the ranks of American music to become a major recording artist, influential hit maker, and bona fide star.
“The ‘wild’ side of Rick James often eclipses his musical genius, but the mathematical equation that is his life depends on all of the numbers to make a whole,” Jenkins said. “We are looking to create a balanced portrait of a brilliant artist who both chased his dreams and stalked more than a few demons. Still, his influence on funk and popular music and culture is unparalleled, and his eventual rise to the top must have felt more powerful than the freebase rush he chased for years after.”
Watch the film’s trailer above. Below is a clip from the documentary, followed by Jenkins’ post-screening interview at the Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival: