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Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me
Directed by
Sam Pollard

USA / 2017 / 100
US Premiere

Screening Times and Venues:

Q&A Attendees
*subject to change:
Sam Pollard, Steve Wechsler
Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me is the first major documentary to examine Davis' vast talent and journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th-century America. Davis' career was legendary, so vast and multi-faceted it was dizzying in scope and scale. Yet his life was complicated and contradictory. A veteran of increasingly outdated show business traditions trying to stay relevant, Davis strove to achieve the American Dream in a time of racial prejudice and shifting politics, caught between the bigotry of white America and the distaste of black America. By embracing Judaism, he yoked himself to another persecuted minority.

Featuring interviews with Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg, and Kim Novak, personal photographs from Davis' vast collection, and excerpts of TV, film and concert performances, the film explores the life and art of a uniquely gifted entertainer whose trajectory blazed across America from the Depression through the 1980s. —Courtesy of American Masters Pictures

Sam Pollard is a Peabody Award and Emmy Award winning filmmaker. His work as an editor and as a producer, director spans nearly 30 years.

Pollard's first assignment was as producer of 1989's Henry Hampton's Eyes On The Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads, for which he received an Emmy. He was co-executive producer and producer of Hampton's series, I'll Make Me A World: Stories of African-American Artists and Community, and received a Peabody Award.

From 1990–2010, Pollard teamed up with Spike Lee as an editor for several of his films. Since 2012, he has produced/directed Slavery by Another Name for PBS; August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand for PBS' American Masters series; the feature documentary Two Trains Runnin; and this year's The Talk: Race in America for PBS.

Cast/Featuring: Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal
Executive Producer(s): Michael Kantor
Producer(s): Sally Rosenthal, Michael Kantor
Director(s): Sam Pollard
Screenwriter(s): Laurence Maslon
Cinematographer(s): Mead Hunt, Allan Palmer
Editor(s): Steven Wechsler
Courtesy of: American Masters Pictures
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