A new generation of performers are featured in the documentary about the annual August Wilson Monologue Competition where the winning students get a chance to perform at the August Wilson Theater on Broadway.
Synopsis: A new generation of performers is discovered in “Giving Voice,” which follows the emotional journey of six students as they advance through the high-stakes August Wilson Monologue Competition, an event which highlights the work of one of America’s preeminent playwrights. The national event brings Wilson’s work (“Fences,” “The Piano Lesson” etc.) to public school students pursuing careers in the performance arts. The students who commit to the demanding and rewarding competition process are encouraged to explore themselves and the world around them through the monologues from Wilson’s century cycle of ten plays focused on the Black experience in America.
Through the film, we discover the influence words can have and the voices that can be ignited to inspire change.
Quote from Director, James D. Stern: “This is my fifth project with Netflix and nothing thrills me more than to be able to bring Giving Voice to a place that I consider home.”
Giving Voice features the original song “Never Break” performed by John Legend and written specifically for the film by John Legend, Nasri Atweh, Benjamin Hudson McIldowie and Greg Wells.
Giving Voice is an Endgame Entertainment and Pilgrim Media Group Production in association with Endeavor Content, Impact Partners, Get Lifted Film Co and JuVee Productions.
Netflix will release the film later this year.
Directors: James D. Stern, Fernando Villena
James Stern directed the documentaries Every Little Step, American Chaos, Sport in America, The Year of the Yao, … So Goes the Nation, and Michael Jordan to the Max. Among the 45 films Stern has produced are Looper, An Education, Side Effects, I’m Not There, Snowden, The Old Man & the Gun, Murder Mystery, and Bliss. Additionally, Stern is a two-time Tony-winning producer.
Giving Voice marks Fernando Villena’s second work as a director after Any One of Us (2019). His editing credits include Rize (2005), Every Little Step (2008), and Crank: High Voltage (2009). Villena has worked with a range of notable directors, including Francis Lawrence, Michel Gondry, Marc Webb, Davis Guggenheim, and Chai Vasarhelyi. Villena’s directing debut was the HBO Sports documentary Any One of Us.
Producers: James D. Stern, Karen Bove, Fernando Villena, Schoen Smith; Craig Piligian for Pilgrim Media Group
Executive Producers: Viola Davi is and Julius Tennon for JuVee Productions; John Legend, Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius for Get Lifted Film Co.; Dan Cogan, Jenny Raskin and Geralyn White Dreyfous for Impact Partners; Gretchen Stockdale and Nicholas Caprio for Pilgrim Media Group; Constanza Romero
Co-Executive Producers: Jonah McMichael, Jamie Wolf
The film adaptation of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will be released by Netflix later this year. Directed by Multiple Tony Award® and DGA Award-winner George C. Wolfe and written by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, the film stars Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo and Michael Potts and is produced by Denzel Washington, Todd Black and Dany Wolf.