• (L - R) 'Kenny Rogers', 'I Want My MTV', 'Whitney' and 'On the Record' (SBS)Source: SBS
Stories behind some of the greatest voices, performers and a look at the dark side of the industry. Don't miss these backstage documentaries streaming at SBS On Demand.
By
SBS Movies

27 Aug 2020 - 4:42 PM  UPDATED 27 Aug 2020 - 4:42 PM

Whitney

M
UK, USA, 2018
Genre: Documentary, Music
Language: English
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Starring: Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown, Cissy Houston, Clive Davis, L.A. Reid 
What's it about?
Whitney Houston broke more music industry records than any other female singer in history. With over 200 million album sales worldwide, she was the only artist to chart seven consecutive U.S. No. 1 singles. She also starred in several blockbuster movies before her brilliant career gave way to erratic behaviour, scandals and an early death at age 48.

Whitney is an intimate, unflinching portrait of Houston and her family that probes beyond familiar tabloid headlines and sheds new light on the trajectory of Houston’s life. Using never-before-seen archival footage, exclusive demo recordings, rare performances, audio archives and original interviews with the people who knew her best, Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald unravels the mystery behind The Voice, who thrilled millions, even as she struggled to make peace with her own troubled past.

Soul and sadness: Life behind the spotlight in 'Whitney'

Whitney airs on NITV Saturday 29 August at 8:35PM and will be available at SBS On Demand after broadcast.

 

Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender

M
USA, 2012
Genre: Music, Documentary
Language: English, French
Starring: Luciano Pavarotti, Brian May, Freddie Mercury
What's it about?
Freddie Mercury was one of the most charismatic, complex and fascinating characters in British rock music. The story of Queen is much told, but this new documentary focuses on Freddie and the solo projects he worked on, outside the band. Using extensive archival footage of interviews with Freddie as well as concerts, video shoots and personal material – much of it previously unseen – along with new interviews with friends and colleagues, a picture emerges of a man who was very different to his flamboyant stage persona. This portrait reveals the man behind the superstar image, The Great Pretender.

Last chance! Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender expires from SBS On Demand by the end of August.

 

On the Record

MA15+
USA, 2020
Genre: Documentary
Language: English
Director: Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering
Starring: Drew Dixon, Sil Lai Abrams, Sheri Hines, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Shanita Hubbard, Joan Morgan
What's it about?
This documentary tells the full story of music executive Drew Dixon as she grapples with her decision to become one of the first women of colour, in the wake of #MeToo, to come forward and publicly accuse hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct. A gripping and profound examination of race, gender, intersectionality, and the toll sexual abuse takes on survivors and on society at large, On the Record is directed and produced by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering (The Hunting Ground, The Invisible War).

On the Record airs on NITV Sunday 30 August at 8:35PM and will be available at SBS On Demand after broadcast.

 

Kenny Rogers: Biography

PG
USA, 2020
Genre: Music, Documentary
Language: English
Starring: Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton
What's it about?
This feature is a journey through Kenny Rogers' life and chart-busting career. Weaving in performances from his star-studded farewell show in Nashville, the biography charts Kenny’s hard-won 60-year career. Kenny’s friends, family and fellow artists tell the story of how Kenny Rogers rose from adversity and battled obscurity to become a pop-culture superstar.

'Kenny Rogers: Biography' shows an artist's gambles coming up trumps

 

I Want My MTV

PG
USA, 2017
Genre: Music, Documentary
Language: English
What's it about?
MTV's influence stretches into nearly every crevasse of popular culture and media. Over the last 25 years, the immense effect it has had on the direction of pop culture has been massive, and many of the revelations and new styles that have emerged can have some trace to the powerful influence MTV has.

 

 

Plus don't miss this TV Documentary Series now streaming

Noisey

M
USA, 2016
Genre: Music, Documentary
Language: English
What's it about?
A first-hand look into the cultures and artists behind some of the world's most compelling music, each episode of Noisey focuses on a different global scene. From Vice's music channel of the same name, this docu-series explores music scenes across the globe - and the various cultural conflicts in each city.

Noisey seasons 1 & 2 are now streaming at SBS On Demand.

 

Or take a break from the docos and watch these music biopics now streaming

Django

M
France, 2017
Genre: Drama, History, Music
Language: German, French, English
Director: Étienne Comar
Starring: Reda Kateb, Cecile de France, Àlex Brendemühl, Maximilien Poullein, Ulrich Brandhoff
What's it about?
1943, occupied Paris. Django Reinhardt (Reda Kateb) is at the pinnacle of his art. The brilliant and carefree jazz guitarist, king of ethereal swing, plays to standing-room-only crowds in the capital’s greatest venues. Meanwhile his gypsy brethren are being persecuted throughout Europe. His life takes a turn for the worse when the Nazi propaganda machine wants to send him on tour in Germany.

Django

 

La Vie en Rose

M
France, 2000
Genre: Music, Drama, Biography
Language: French
Director: Oliver Dahan
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Gérard Depardieu, Jean-Paul Rouve, Emmanuelle Seigner, Sylvie Testud
What's it about?
A biopic about the legendary international singing icon Edith Piaf (Marion Cotillard - who won the Best Actress Academy Award for her performance), whose voice and talent captivated the world. The remarkable artist was born into poverty but survived using the only gift she had – her voice. Piaf's tragic life was a constant battle to sing and survive, to live and love, with no regrets.  

La Vie en Rose director aims to get back on song
La Vie En Rose review: You will have no regrets seeing this.

 

Miles Ahead

M
USA, 2016
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Director: Don Cheadle
Starring: Don Cheadle, Ewan McGregor, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Michael Stuhlbarg, Lakeith StanfieldSánchez
What's it about?
Inspired by events in his life, Miles Ahead is a wildly entertaining and moving exploration of one of 20th century music’s creative geniuses, Miles Davis, featuring a career defining performance by Oscar nominee Don Cheadle in the title role. Working from a script he co-wrote with Steven Baigelman, Cheadle’s bravura directorial debut is not a conventional bio-pic but rather a unique, no-holds barred portrait of a singular artist in crisis.

 

Florence Foster Jenkins

PG
UK, 2016
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Language: English
Director: Stephen Frears
Starring: Hugh Grant, Meryl Streep, Rebecca Ferguson
What's it about?
The voice Florence (Meryl Streep) heard in her head was beautiful, but to everyone else it was hilariously awful. Her "husband" and manager, St Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant), an aristocratic English actor, was determined to protect his beloved Florence from the truth. But when Florence decided to give a public concert at Carnegie Hall in 1944, St Clair knew he faced his greatest challenge. From acclaimed director Stephen Frears (PhilomenaThe Queen) comes this hilarious and heart-warming true story of an heiress and socialite who obsessively pursued her dream of becoming a great opera singer.

Florence Foster Jenkins review: A bright, bubbly and ear-bursting biopic

 

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