Director and drummer Dave Wooley honors his long-time friend in his new doc "Dionne Warwick: Don't Make Me Over"
The CNN premiere of the award-winning documentary Dionne Warwick, Don’t Make Me Over takes place at 9pm on January 1.
Filmmaker and drummer Dave Wooley spent five years putting this project together about his long-time friend Dionne Warwick. Wooley joined WBGO Journal host Doug Doyle to talk about the film he directed and produced. He wants viewers to realize there's much more to the singing icon.
"I wanted to make a film that was emblematic of the Dionne Warwick I know for 30 years, the one I've traveled around many places with, the one I've seen on stage, many times, I've produced concerts for her, that Dionne that has me on the floor in stitches."
The documentary, which also features Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Bill Clinton, Snoop Dogg, Burt Bacharach, Carlos Santana and Alicia Keys among others, was privately screened at the Apollo Theater in NYC’s Harlem – the very venue where Ms. Warwick began her long storied solo career. Wooley explains how the icon reacted when seeing the film.
"Dionne did not know that I was doing these interviews. Imagine trying to keep a secret from her. I'm telling people don't call her and don't tell her I'm here. So when she watched it, she's like 'Oh my God, how did you get Stevie Wonder? You talked to Snoop, how come you didn't tell me? She was full of emotion, thrilled and excited."
The documentary has earned the following honors for the movie – First Runner Up at the Toronto International Film Festival (category: People's Choice Award for Documentaries), Best Feature Film: Black Harvest Film Festival - Gene Siskel Film Center, Audience Award: Best Non Fiction- Montclair Film Festival, Annapolis Film Festival: Audience Award as well as the Audience Award: Bronze Lens and a 90% critics’ rating from Rotten Tomatoes.
Wooley, who also co-authored Warwick’s autobiography, “My Life as I See It”, highlights the singer's pop career during the film with classic hits like “Walk On By”, “I Say A Little Prayer”, “Do You Know The Way To San Jose”, “Then Came You”, and “That’s What Friends Are For”, but the director more importantly wanted to focus on his friend's work and commitment to Civil Rights in the 1960’s and how she stood up and stared down at Jim Crow racism. The doc then moves on into the 1980’s with the AIDS epidemic and her ambassadorship on the US commission to address this matter, which led to Warwick's prompting of then-President Ronald Reagan to speak directly on the issue.
"You're talking about a woman who did something when nobody else would do it. She put her career on the line and helped millions of people around the world. I'm so honored to be able to tell that story. "
Dionne Warwick celebrated her 82nd birthday this month. She recently shared some of her thoughts with WBGO's Favorite Things host Pat Prescott.
You can SEE Doug Doyle's entire interview with Dave Wooley here.